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Mike Tyson regrets 'small scared little man' comments about Floyd Mayweather

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The legendary boxer says he did not "want to disrespect Mayweather" or distract from the "great economic surge" that Mayweather vs. Pacquiao is generating for Las Vegas.

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Mike Tyson got a considerable bit of attention earlier this week when he angrily responded to Floyd Mayweather comparing himself to Muhammad Ali by saying, "He's very delusional. Listen, if he was anywhere near the realm of greatness of Ali, he would be able to take his kids to school by himself. ... He can't take his kids to school by himself, he's a little scared man. He's a very small, scared man."

With the media focus on this weekend's Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao super fight, these comments drew a lot of heat.

After fading the backlash from that comment, Tyson took to Instagram to clear the air.

"An article circulated today, which referenced an incident that happened to me many years ago. It was released without my consent or endorsement. It inferred that I had animosity towards Floyd Mayweather Jr. because of something that happened many years ago. This entire article is speculation and it's unfortunate that it would be released at all, especially the day before the biggest fight in decades.

"I have no ill will towards Mayweather and have a great deal of respect for his discipline in and out of the ring. He's proven he is one of the greatest athletes of all time and will go down in history as such. Things got blown out of proportion when I was interviewed the other day about a comment Mayweather made stating he was greater than Ali. I disagree and personally found it insulting because of the love and admiration I have for Muhammad Ali. I thought it was inappropriate to make that kind of reference especially because Ali has done so much, not just in the sport of boxing but for humanity as a whole.

"In retrospect, I wish I had exercised better discernment in my response because in no way did I want to disrespect Mayweather. The focus should be on the May 2nd bout and the great economic surge this event is generating for the city of Las Vegas. I sincerely wish Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao the best of luck on Saturday night's historical event."

The article in question appears to be this from Boxing Junkie which claims that "A longtime friend of Mike Tyson said the retired heavyweight champion's critical comments about Floyd Mayweather Jr. stem in part from Tyson being told by several people that it was Mayweather who instructed a woman in 2001 to falsely report to police that Tyson had kidnapped her and sexually assaulted her — allegations that prompted police to raid his home."

Stay tuned to SBNation for all your Mayweather-Pacuiao news and analysis.

Watch this video from Bloody Elbow's Connor Ruebusch to learn why this fight matters so much for Floyd Mayweather.