Mike Tyson vs Bob Sapp: Did they fight?

Mike Tyson (L) and Bobb Sapp (R)
Mike Tyson (L) and Bobb Sapp (R)
Anwesha Nag

At 54 years of age, Mike Tyson made a return to the boxing ring for the first time in over a decade to face Roy Jones Jr. on November 28 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

The bout ended in a draw, as the California State Athletic Commission had said there would be no official judges scoring the fight. Both men took home at least $1 million for the night's bout. Mike Tyson said that he would donate his match purse to charity.

Unarguably one of the greatest to ever don the boxing gloves, Mike Tyson has certainly fought his share of heavyweights inside the ring.

But there were few whom he almost faced, but never did. Bob Sapp was one such.

Did Mike Tyson fight Bob Sapp?

No, the fight between Mike Tyson and Bob Sapp never actually materialized, but it was definitely in the talks at one point.

Renowned kickboxer and mixed martial artist Bob Sapp called out Mike Tyson after one of his victories at K-1.

in August, 2003, Bob Sapp took part in a special K-1 event in Las Vegas and faced UFC veteran Kimo Leopoldo. The contest ran into controversy long before Mike Tyson came into the scene, as it seemed like the referee Nobuaki Kakuda was favoring Sapp and giving him time to recover from Leopoldo's strikes.

Sapp was technically outclassed by Leopold for the most part, despite having trained with Maurice Smith. However, he eventually overpowered Leopold with strength and power, and the fight ended in a knockout win for Bob Sapp.

After the win, Sapp called out Mike Tyson, who was seated at ringside. Tyson got inside the ring and Sapp tried to start a brawl with the boxer immediately. Both were stopped by present officials, but they issued challenges to each other.

Read here: 20 Most Iconic Quotes of Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson said he would fight Sapp then and there if the Marquess of Queensbury rules were followed - as in if it was a boxing match. In reply to Sapp's trash talk, Tyson asked him to sign the contract first.

"Sign the contract, big boy, sign the contract."

K-1 soon announced that they were seriously considering making the fight happen. Mike Tyson even thought of training with kickboxing coach Jacob Duran in case the contest did not happen under Marquess of Queensbury rules, and ended up being a kickboxing or martial arts match.

However, the fight never happened, mostly because of Mike Tyson's felon status. His history of offence made it impossible for Mike Tyson to obtain a visa for Japan, where the organizers wanted the contest to take place for profit-related reasons.

Bob Sapp continued to call Mike Tyson out for a few matches after that, but nothing ever really came out of it.

If the fight had gone down as a boxing match, most fans predict that Mike Tyson would have come out victorious. Despite being of bigger size, Bob Sapp lacked the speed and agility to go head-to-head with Iron Mike.

And as most fight fans would know, Bob Sapp was way more of a physical attraction than an actual threat inside the ring.

Edited by aditya.rangarajan

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