Mike Tyson has accused Canelo Alvarez (60-2-2, 39 KOs) of disrespecting boxing and Mexico with the undisputed super middleweight champion allegedly walking away from a lucrative proposal to face his mandatory challenger David Benavidez (28-0, 24 KOs). 

A fight between Canelo and Benavidez is one of the most attractive in boxing and has long been discussed, with Benavidez holding the WBC’s mandatory challenger status at 168lbs for more than two years. 

Sampson Lewkowicz, Benavidez’s manager, claimed in recent weeks that Canelo had rejected an offer to face Benavidez only for Canelo’s manager Eddy Reynoso to spurn the notion that the offer Lewkowicz discussed was put to him or Canelo. 

In an interview with Marca, Tyson said he was surprised that Canelo walked away from a proposed multi-million dollar fight with his natural rival Benavidez.

“I can’t believe what I just heard,” Tyson told Marca, responding to erroneous reports that the Mexican had turned down a deal of some $60m.. 

“What’s wrong with Canelo? Is he afraid of losing? Doesn’t he want to give the fans the fight they want to see? Don’t you want to give the fans the fight they want to see?”

Tyson, if he found himself in Canelo’s position, said he would have accepted the offer while accusing Alvarez of disrespecting the sport and Mexico and questioning his heart to fight the best. 

“Do you not respect the legacy of the great Mexican champions who faced the best regardless of the money?” Tyson asked. “This is a shame for boxing and for Mexico. If I were him, I would accept the fight with Benavidez and show the world that he is the best. But it seems he doesn’t have the courage to do it; It is a shame because he has a lot of talent but he lacks heart.”