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Inside the secret 19-year feud between Floyd Mayweather and Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather may well be two of the greatest boxers ever to climb inside the rope, but that doesn’t mean they’re friends.

Both men enjoyed incredible careers, before stepping out of the limelight knowing they were the unrivalled talents of their generation.

On the surface, the pair have a mutual respect for what the other has achieved, but in reality it appears that all is not particularly amicable between them.

Floyd Mayweather (left) believes he is the greatest boxer ever to step in the ring

Mayweather and Mike Tyson (right, in a fight with Evander Holyfield) reportedly don't get on

Mayweather and Mike Tyson (right, in a fight with Evander Holyfield) reportedly don’t get on

Indeed, it seems that Mayweather and Tyson don’t actually like each other, and are involved in a feud that has flown under the radar over the last 19 years.

While not many are aware of their long-standing hatred, quotes from the pair over the years has hinted at a dislike for each other, and Sportsmail is here to take a look back at their war of words – and where it all started. 

To find out exactly where their beef began, you have to head back to 2001, when both fighters were in their prime and loving life at the top of their sport.

While Tyson was beginning to wind down to the end of his long and illustrious career, Mayweather was the young pretender, well on the way to securing the incredible 50-0 unbeaten record he still holds to this day.

Until this point, it has been reported that the pair enjoyed a friendship, two fighters with the utmost respect for each other. They were in different weight classes, so there was never any need for a rivalry, be it real or manufactured to sell tickets. 

A fascinating clip from 2015 shows Tyson pretending to punch Mayweather on a Vegas stage

A fascinating clip from 2015 shows Tyson pretending to punch Mayweather on a Vegas stage

The pair are very rarely pictured together and are said to have not got on for the last 19 years

The pair are very rarely pictured together and are said to have not got on for the last 19 years

US website Boxing Junkie explains that this quickly unravelled though, after a particularly unsavoury incident just after the turn of the century.

The report claims that their friendship went south when Mayweather played a role in a police raid that took place at Tyson’s Las Vegas home, after he was accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman.

It is written that Mayweather was upset at Tyson seeing the girl in question, so he instructed her to go to the police with the unsavoury claims. That then led to the raid at Iron Mike’s home, and put an end to their friendship in the blink of an eye.

In fact, Tyson has even spoke out about the alleged incident himself, telling Boxing Junkie: ‘Some serious people said it,’ before adding that he’s never been able to find evidence to link Mayweather to the raid. 

‘I’m good with it now… You can forgive, but you have to remember.’     

Tyson (left) says that if he got the chance to fight Mayweather he would use dirty tactics

Tyson (left) says that if he got the chance to fight Mayweather he would use dirty tactics

And if later flashpoints between the pair are anything to go by, it would certainly appear that neither man has let the 2001 incident drift out of their memory.

While there has never been a real headline-grabbing moment, the mask has slipped on a number of occasions between Tyson and Mayweather, hinting that all is not well between the two legends of the sport.

Back in 2015, Mayweather claimed that he was the greatest boxer in history – better than Muhammad Ali and yes, you guessed it, Tyson… with the latter not mincing his words when he bit back.    

‘He’s very delusional,’ Iron Mike explained when asked about the quotes. ‘Listen, if he was anywhere near that realm of great as Muhammad Ali, he’d be able to take his kids to school by himself.

‘OK, he can’t take his kids to school by himself, and he’s talking about he’s great? 

Mayweather has been keeping himself fit during lockdown and posted a video of his workout

Mayweather has been keeping himself fit during lockdown and posted a video of his workout

‘Greatness is not guarding yourself from the people. It’s being accepted by the people. He can’t take his kids alone to school by himself. He’s a little scared man. He’s a very small, scared man.’ 

With both fighters going down as legends of the sport, questions have inevitably been fielded about who would win if they matched up against each other.

GQ asked Tyson about a street fight with Mayweather, and once again no punches were pulled in response: ‘[I would] kick Floyd’s a**e… there wouldn’t even be no match.’ 

He did have some kind words for his rival seconds later though, admitting that if they were the same size in an in-ring bout, ‘he would outpoint me’.     

Tyson turned 54 this week and has been talking about a remarkable comeback to the ring

Tyson turned 54 this week and has been talking about a remarkable comeback to the ring

TV station ShoBox have also previously asked Tyson about fighting Mayweather, with Iron Mike admitting he would use dirty tactics to get one over his opponent.   

‘We can never fight, of course, because of the weight difference, but I wouldn’t fight him the way they fought him,’ he said.

‘I would be mean, I would be dirty. Because you’d have to do everything to fight him because he’s just so good.

‘It’s impossible to fight him clean. It’s almost impossible to fight him clean. You can’t fight him clean. You can’t fight this guy clean.’

The pair are never pictured together, and the only time they have really been spotted even close to each other is ringside at fights.

Tyson watches on from ringside at Mayweather's 2017 bout against Conor McGregor

Tyson watches on from ringside at Mayweather’s 2017 bout against Conor McGregor

On occasion, Tyson has watched on from close quarters at a Mayweather bout, often being used by television channels to give some punditry on his fellow fighter.

There was also an incredible moment caught on camera in 2015, when both boxers – and a whole host of legendary other names – were all on stage together at a WBC convention at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Tyson was shaking hands with others as he worked his way down the line, before Mayweather put out his hand to do the same.

However, instead of shaking it, Tyson pretended to throw a famous right hook at the Money Man, before laughing it off and hugging him in front of the crowd.

Mayweather was praised by fans for not even flinching in the face of Iron Mike, despite receiving little warning of what was happening.  

As Tyson walked away, having passed it off as a joke, it was easy to believe that maybe, just maybe, there was a little something more bubbling under the surface. 

Tyson is in incredible shape at the age of 54 and has talked about returning to the sport

Tyson is in incredible shape at the age of 54 and has talked about returning to the sport

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk