Mike Tyson confirms Jake Paul boxing match is an exhibition but insists it'll be an actual fight

FILE PHOTO (EDITORS NOTE: COMPOSITE OF IMAGES - Image numbers 1469806982 and 1437611311) In this composite image a comparison between Former Boxer Mike Tyson (L) and Jake Paul (R). Tyson and Paul face in July 2024 exhibition fight.  ***LEFT IMAGE*** RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA - FEBRUARY 26: Former Boxer Mike Tyson looks on prior to the Cruiserweight Title fight between Jake Paul and Tommy Fury at the Diriyah Arena on February 26, 2023 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images) ***RIGHT IMAGE*** GLENDALE, ARIZONA - OCTOBER 29: Jake Paul takes the ring for his cruiserweight bout against Anderson Silva of Brazil at Desert Diamond Arena on October 29, 2022 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Mike Tyson will fight Jake Paul. Allegedly. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Mike Tyson is scheduled to step into the ring with Jake Paul on July 20, but it apparently won't be considered an official fight in the record books.

The 57-year-old boxing legend confirmed Tuesday in a Fox News interview that his bout with the YouTuber-turned-boxer will be an exhibition match — but without the restrictions you often see in an exhibition match. He also promised that Paul is mistaken if he believes he can hurt him:

"This is called an exhibition, but if you look up exhibition, you will not see any of the laws that we're fighting under. This is a fight. I don't think he's faster than me. I've seen a YouTube of him at 16 doing weird dances. That's not the guy I'm going to be fighting.

"This guy is going to come, he's going to try to hurt me, which I'm accustomed to. He's going to be greatly mistaken."

Basically, this will be a fight between a YouTuber and a guy old enough to describe his video as "a YouTube."

Netflix is set to stream the event live from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Additional details on the fight are still slim, partially because the promoters have reportedly provided no details to the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation.

The Paul family has some experience with exhibition matches, as Jake's elder brother, Logan, faced Floyd Mayweather in an eight-round exhibition in 2021. That bout ended without a finish, and no winner was declared, though Mayweather looked like the superior boxer. The only apparent losers were the people who paid to watch it.

Tyson is selling the fight as if it won't be a repeat of that widely criticized sideshow, saying he's currently frightened by the idea of facing the 27-year-old Paul:

"Right now, I'm scared to death. But as the fight gets closer, the less nervous I become, because it's reality, and in reality, I'm invincible."

He later added:

"I do not have no grudges against him. He's beautiful."

For his part, Paul has hyped the match in the most predictable way possible: with a joke face tattoo and a jab at Tyson's ear-biting incident. He has also taken a picture with a tiger.

Paul is in his fifth year of trying to carve out a reputation as a legitimate boxer, with mixed results. He began his career by almost exclusively beating up older MMA fighters chasing a pay day, and he suffered his first loss against Tommy Fury, coincidentally, the first person he faced with "boxer" as his primary job description.

Paul has since defeated Andre August and Ryan Bourland, two much lesser-known boxers who both went down in the first round. Tyson figures to be a very, very different challenge. That is, assuming the fight actually happens.