Jake Paul believes legendary heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson doesn't want to fight him out of fear that he will knock the YouTube star out.
"I think he thinks that he would knock me out, and I think that's maybe the reason why he doesn't want to do the fight. I think he wants to avoid maybe knocking me out, hurting me.
"[If he knew how good I was], maybe the fight would happen. Maybe him watching this fight will help, and I think there's a very very high chance that [I knock him out]."
Paul will look to improve his career professional boxing record to 6-0 next month when he faces his training partner Hasim Rahman Jr., who is the son of former heavyweight boxing champion Hasim Rahman.
Per Corby, Paul and Tyson have been friends since they competed on the same pay-per-view card in 2020.
Competing in his second pro fight, Paul knocked out former NBA guard Nate Robinson on that card, while Tyson fought fellow boxing legend Roy Jones Jr. to a draw in an exhibition match.
Paul acknowledged his friendship with Tyson, but also expressed confidence in his ability to beat the former heavyweight boxing champion, saying:
"... I would win. I'm serious as a heart attack, it's delusional optimism which is a real super-power.
"... I love Mike Tyson. I love him, his family, he's such a great guy, a wise man who has taken me under his wing. I owe him a ton of credit for helping me start my career with the Nate Robinson fight on his undercard."
Last month, Tyson was asked about potentially fighting Paul during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live (h/t Anton Tabuena of Bloody Elbow), and while he didn't dismiss it completely, it stressed the importance of doing it soon if it is ever going to happen.
"That could be very interesting," Tyson said. "I never really took it serious, but yeah, it could be really interesting. Everything is possible, yeah. But it gotta happen this year. It gotta happen this year."
Tyson also gave Paul a ton of credit for his ability and the interest he has brought to the sport of boxing:
"He's skilled enough, yes. I'm gonna give it to him. He's skilled enough because he's winning. Even if he's fighting guys that you guys don't believe is a good enough fighter, they should be able to beat him, but they can't. He's beating people that he shouldn't really be beating. We got to give him that credit.
"And he's doing so much good for boxing. Listen, this guy got 70 million people following him every time he fights. Champions of the world don't have that many people following them. So what he's doing for boxing is just sensational. No one should be hating on that. He's helping everyone get money. Why are people mad at him?"
While Paul has been impressive, his quality of opponent has been suspect and Rahman Jr. will be the first actual boxer he has faced.
Previously, Paul defeated YouTuber AnEsonGib, Robinson and a pair of former UFC fighters in Ben Askren and Tyron Woodley.
Paul would have the advantage over Tyson in terms of his age (25) and the fact that he has competed in pro fights far more recently, but Tyson is one of the all-time greats.
The 56-year-old Tyson owns a career record of 50-6 with 44 wins by way of knockout and two no contests.
He hasn't had a non-exhibition fight since 2005, but Tyson looked great against Jones and may still have enough punching power to take down Paul if he decides to agree to the fight.