MIKE TYSON broke down in tears the day after seeing his hero Muhammad Ali take a pasting from Larry Holmes.
The former undisputed heavyweight champion returned from a two-year layoff in 1980 at the age of 38 to challenge Holmes for the WBC and Ring Magazine titles.
Father Time had well and truly caught up to The Greatest – who had been struggling with vocal stutters and hand tremours – who was beaten from pillar to post until trainer Angelo Dundee halted the fight in the tenth.
A 14-year-old Tyson watched on in horror with trainer Cus D’Amato as Holmes battered his hero and was stunned into the silence
Iron Mike told Boxing Arabia: “We went to see Muhammad Ali fight Larry Holmes on closed circuit. [Holmes] beat the s**t out of Ali.
“We all went back home, 30 miles south, nobody said a word in the car for 30 miles.
“We got in the house, went to our beds, all went to sleep, nobody said nothing.
“The next morning [Tyson’s trainer Cus D’Amato] is on the phone with Ali.
“I’m hearing him say, ‘He’s a bum, Ali, why you let that bum beat on you?’”
D’Amato eventually passed the phone on to Tyson – who vowed to avenge his fallen hero.
He said: “I was on the phone, I said [to Ali], ‘When I get big I’m gonna avenge you.
“‘I’m gonna knock him out for you.’
“Ali said, ‘Yeah I’m the greatest fighter ever and I took medicine.
“And I got sick and I’m gonna come back and knock out Holmes.’
Ali’s words, however, didn’t have the desired comforting effect on a teenage Tyson.
He said: “I’m on the phone crying.
“He thought he was making me happy but he was making me sad cause he ignored the fact of me saying I’m gonna avenge you.”
Tyson got his opportunity to avenge Ali eight years later when he fought Holmes in Trump Plaza, Atlantic City in January 1988.
Ali was in attendance for the fight, and told Tyson seconds before the tussle: “Get him for me.”
“Get him” Tyson did as he overwhelmed Holmes and stopped him in the fourth round to retain the WBA, WBC and IBF heavyweight titles.