Brad Lewis: Mike Tyson v Evander Holyfield comeback fight would be an ugly trainwreck

OPINION: Please don't buy into the dream of a Mike Tyson v Evander Holyfield trilogy fight.

If it happens, it'll be a trainwreck.

While both can sit on boxing's mountain top with fairly strong credentials for being regarded as the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time... watching them fight again? No thanks.

The appeal is obvious. Even at 53, Tyson has looked like a legitimate killer in recently released videos hyping a potential comeback. 

But c'mon man - he was hitting pads. 

The most inept professional fighter can look like a champion hitting pads that don't hit back Despite her amazing grappling abilities, former UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey was a horrible striker, but she looked like she could murder most human beings when hitting pads.

No doubt Tyson looked in phenomenal shape - and he would still knock out some of the zombies someone like Anthony Joshua was gifted in his first 10 fights as a professional.

But we want to remember 'Iron Mike' as the man who brought fear into the eyes of the great Michael Spinks, moments before destroying him in 90 seconds. 

That Tyson looked down the barrel of the camera and told Lennox Lewis he would "eat his children". 

He was intense, vicious and powerful, yet the fight music he composed inside the squared circle was a pure masterpiece.

If this 'dream' fight happens, it will likely be a three or four-round exhibition fight, with both wearing headgear and oversized gloves. No thanks.

That's not the final story either of these two legends deserve - they are both revered in a division full of greats and to tarnish that would be a disgrace. 

MMA legend Chuck Liddell was the UFC's version of Mike Tyson in the 2000s, scoring nine straight knockout wins over four years, and a prime example of a washed-up vet who should have stayed retired.

Liddell's career hit a cliff in 2007, after a devastating loss to Quentin Jackson, and he would lose five of his last six fights, before retiring in 2010, aged 39.

Eight years later, he came out of retirement for a fight with Tito Ortiz, whom he had destroyed twice a decade earlier. Liddell looked horrible - he was laboured, gun shy and punch drunk… and was knocked out in the first round.

That's the lasting memory of one of the greatest light heavyweights in UFC history.

Longtime friend, boss and UFC president Dana White pleaded for Liddell to walk away, as he did when asked about Tyson's comeback last week.

White and Tyson go back a long way, and he doesn't want to see another friend make the same mistake.

"I love Mike Tyson," White says. "I love the guy. 

"He was one of my guys that I looked up to growing up. I’ve always been a huge fan of his and all that stuff, and he and I have become very good friends.

"I’m begging him not to go fight... I’m begging him. 

"I said, ‘You look awesome, you’re still explosive, you’re obviously still powerful. You’re one of the all-time greats, but Mike, you’re 53. Please don’t do it.’ 

"We’ll see what happens. Bottom line is, I don’t want Mike to fight and if it comes down to where he’s about to do something crazy, I might have to jump in and figure out something for him not to do it."

Holyfield's condition is even more worrying.

While Tyson's physical and mental well-being has been on the improve over the past decade, any interview with Holyfield leaves you with the sense he's heading down the same path as Muhammad Ali, who suffered from Parkinson's disease over the final years of his life.

Holyfield was one of my favourite fighters when I discovered the awesomeness of boxing in the 1990s. He was slick, confident, technical, likeable and one of the very best to ever lace up gloves.

His dismantling of Tyson in their first fight in 1996 was a pure clinic. He made the fearless look listless, eventually scoring a stoppage win in Round 11.  

Holyfield was robbed against Lennox Lewis in their first fight in 1999, before losing another razor-close decision to the Brit several months later.

Holyfield fought the best of his generation and more often than not came out with his hand raised. Riddick Bowe, Michael Moorer, John Ruiz, Hasim Rahman, Ray Mercer and Tyson himself all fell to 'The Warrior'.

Of course, the Holyfield-Tyson rivalry took on legendary proportions with the ear-chomping climax to their 1997 rematch. That's more than two decades ago now.  

Arguably, Holyfield fought 10 years too long anyway, eventually retiring in 2011, aged 48.

The boxing world doesn't need Tyson v Holyfield III - not in this form anyway. 

The heavyweight division is the most stacked it's been in 20 years, with 10-15 legitimate contenders all positioning themselves for a shot at being world champion.

We don't need the distraction of what could end up looking like two average rugby league players fighting at a West Auckland YMCA charity event.

Stay retired, lads. You are two of the greatest ever - don't ruin that for a Mickey Mouse exhibition fight.