Former heavyweight champion Larry Holmes revealed on Wednesday that he told Don King,"I can't beat Mike Tyson" before his fourth-round stoppage loss to Tyson in 1988.
Both Hall of Fame inductees, Tyson and Holmes recounted their fight and took questions from the audience during an event that was free and open to the public at the Turning Stone Resort Casino Showroom in Verona, N.Y.
Entitled "Kings of the Ring: A Conversation with Mike Tyson and Larry Holmes," the interview took place in advance of Friday's ESPN2 Friday Night Fights show promoted by Iron Mike Productions.
In additional news, recent Iron Mike Productions and Fight Promotions Inc. signee and 2012 Olympian Ievgen Khytrov (4-0, 4 KOs), from Ukraine, will make an appearance in a middleweight bout against Chris Chatman (12-3-1, 5 KOs).
A highly decorated amateur boxer with more than 500 matches, Khytrov was a gold medal winner at the 2011 World Championships in Azerbaijan when he defeated Japan's 2012 Olympic gold medalist Ryota Murata in the final.
The nationally televised fights represent Tyson's second appearance at Turning Stone within the past year, having first appeared there last August for his debut as a boxing promoter.
Below are the highlights of the Tyson-Holmes interview:
Larry Holmes on his response to Don King when approached to fight Mike Tyson:
"What I remember was Don King knocking at my door around 9 at night. I was retired two years. Don said he wanted me to fight somebody he said he knew I could beat. I asked him who, and he said, 'Mike Tyson.' I said I can't beat Mike Tyson.
"Don said, 'What if I give you 3 ½ million dollars?,' and I said, 'Where's Mike at?' I'm just glad he didn't kill me. He knocked me down a few times, but I didn't feel it because the first time he hit me I was numb.
"After the fight Mike said he loved me and I said, 'Why'd you knock out my ass?' Mike's a great guy. I'm glad Mike beat me that day, or else I'd have nothing to talk about."
Mike Tyson on the fight:
"It was a great opportunity to be in the ring with one of the great fighters of all time. It was a milestone in my career. He didn't have time to prepare. I never fought the great Larry Holmes. I had no delusions. By all means, I didn't fight the Holmes who fought Muhammad Ali.
"I was very objective in the ring, nothing personal, but I'd have hit my mother. If I had mercy on him, he may have knocked my ass out. He didn't have enough time to prepare when he fought me. Don didn't give him the opportunity."
Holmes and Tyson on the highlights of their respective careers:
Holmes: "Kenny Norton, because so many people said I couldn't do it. My legs were too small, and I was just a copy of Muhammad Ali. But I did the work and had the dedication."
Tyson: "Buster Douglas. I needed that fight to make me a better person and fighter and have a broader perspective of myself and boxing."
On Concussions in boxing:
Holmes: "I never thought it would happen to me. My style was to move here and there. I didn't get hit hard too often. Mike knocked me down, I got up.
"I thought the next was a slip, and he knocked me down again. I thought I'd get up and hit him with an uppercut, but my arm got caught in the rope. I got hit hard by Earnie Shavers, too."
Tyson: "I'm sure I had some concussions. When I signed my pro contract at 17, there was an unwritten clause that it was possible that you'd die. We knew and saw it but didn't think it could happen to us."
On their respective favorite boxing movies:
Holmes: "Rocky, the first one, but I don't like the guy playing him."
Tyson: "Raging Bull."
Sport they would have been in if not boxing:
Tyson: "Just a fighter, I never wanted to be anything but a fighter."
Holmes: "Fighter … and running back for the Dallas Cowboys."
THABISO MCHUNU RETURNS VS. JULIO CESAR DOS SANTOS ON JUNE 6
South African cruiserweight Thabiso "The Rock" Mchunu will pursue his seventh straight victory during a run that has included four knockouts, against Brazilian Julio Cesar Dos Santos on June 6 in Gauteng, South Africa, Main Events announced on Wednesday.
A 26-year-old southpaw, Mchunu (16-1, 11 knockouts) was last in action for a unanimous decision in January over Olanrewaju Durodola, who was after his ninth straight knockout win.
Before facing Durodola, Mchunu virtually shut out former heavyweight title challenger "Fast" Eddie Chambers during a unanimous-decision victory in August. Mchunu's only loss was by sixth-round knockout to Zack Mwekassa in September 2011.
"Thabiso has had a great camp. Although we stuck to the same program as usual, we pushed a little harder with the cardio work and rounds of sparring. He has made major progress in his running output and punching power this camp. I've seen Thabiso put together some of his best sparring to date in this camp," said Sean Smith, Mchunu's trainer, in a press release.
"He is an extremely focused athlete, and has the ability to take things to a new level. It is very easy to see guys plateau and fizzle out soon as you increase the volume and intensity. I truly believe not too many guys can go the distance with Thabiso if he can sustain the pressure in the later rounds."
The 36-year-old Dos Santos (26-2, 23 KOs) will be after his fourth consecutive win and his third straight knockout against Mchunu, having last suffered defeat by unanimous decision to then-unbeaten Dmytro Kucher in March 2013.
"Julio Dos Santos is also in fantastic shape, and this is going to be a very ascetically pleasing bout," said Smith. "But fans are gonna see a razor sharp and relentless Thabiso. Dos Santos has a very good record, but I think Thabiso is gonna make a statement loud and clear that he's ready for the next level."
Mchunu's assessment was short and sweet.
"I am going to traumatize this guy," said Mchunu, "from start to finish."
KARL DARGAN PREPS FOR ANTHONY FLORES
Lightweight Karl Dargan (15-0, 7 KOs) has been training at the James Shuler Gym in his native Philadelphia for his June 21 bout against local rival Anthony Flores (11-4-1, 6 KOs) at the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., a bout that will happen as the co-feature on NBCSN Fight Night and be promoted by Main Events.
In the main event, Anatoliy Dudchenko will face Nadjib Mohammedi in an IBF light heavyweight eliminator bout.