Mike Tyson warns Jake Paul he will be fighting for his life; Paul responds

Mike Tyson may be 57 years old, but he still has the ability to command a room just by uttering a few terrifying words.

The man who once upon a time proclaimed “I’m going to rip his heart out” didn’t go quite that far at Monday’s kickoff press conference for his July 20 fight against Jake Paul, but the menacing tone was still there. Fairly subdued during the proceedings, Tyson admitted he actually likes Paul as a person, but none of that matters once they start throwing hands.

“I really like Jake a lot,” Tyson said at the New York press conference. “But once he’s in that ring, he has to fight like his life is depending on it. Because it will be.”

That got more than a few gasps from the audience in attendance, but Paul didn’t blink in the face of the most experienced opponent he’s fought during his young boxing career.

Now weighing more than 230 pounds as he prepares to compete as a heavyweight for the first time, Paul commended Tyson for working so hard to make this fight happen. In fact, Paul claimed it was Tyson who requested the change from an exhibition to a sanctioned, professional fight, so the result could end up on both of their pro records.

“He was game,” Paul said. “I think he’s always wanted to do this. This has been a long time coming. We’ve been calling each other out for years and we finally got to make it happen, on Netflix, the biggest platform in the world. Things just keep on getting bigger and better.

“Mike wanted this. Mike wanted it to be a pro fight. He wants the war. I respect that. I respect him for taking this fight, for stepping up, to try to put an end to me. Because that’s what all these fighters have been trying to do, is end the YouTuber — and if Mike can do that, then he’s a hero.”

Of course, Tyson addressed arguably the biggest concern heading into the Paul fight, and that comes down to his age.

In his prime, Tyson was one of the most feared and ferocious boxers in history, a champion who left a trail of broken bodies in his wake as he stormed through the heavyweight division.

That being said, Tyson’s last professional win came back in 2003, and he hasn’t held a major title since 1996. By the time he sets foot in the ring with Paul, Tyson will be just three weeks removed from celebrating his 58th birthday.

None of that seems to bother Tyson, though. He fired back at any critics who are saying he’s too old for this fight.

“I think the people that said that wish they were up here,” Tyson said. “Because no one else can do it. Who else can do this? Who else can shut the sporting world down? No one else can do it.

“You’ve got the both of us and we’re going to do this. We’re friends. There’s no doubt we’re friends. But in that ring, we’re not going to be friends. That’s just what it is.”

To further amp up his preparation, Tyson claimed he’s been listening to “funeral music” in the gym as he puts himself through a strict and meticulous training camp.

Even if he’s not the same boxer he was 30 years ago while reigning as champion, Tyson still possesses fight-ending power, and he hopes to prove that against Paul.

For his part, Paul only smiled back at his opponent and promised that he’s ready to take whatever Tyson can deliver.

“I know I will be able to [take his punches],” Paul said. “I’m a natural-born heavyweight. This is what I was born to do, to move up into this weight class, and I’m going to show Mike who has more power. Because he’s underestimating me. I think everyone else is underestimating me and I believe I hit harder.

“I know it’s going to be tough. I know I’m going to have to fight through adversity. I know I might even go to the canvas. I’m scared, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not about the fear stopping me. It’s about going into it even though I am scared, and that’s what true bravery is.”