Boxing great Mike Tyson says the man he punched on a plane this week was drunk and provoked him into the altercation.

A video went viral on Thursday showing the former heavyweight champion punching a JetBlue airline passenger multiple times in the face after the man repeatedly taunted him.

But Tyson’s representatives said in a statement that he threw his punches only after the “aggressive” man threw a water bottle at the 55-year-old “Iron Mike,” the New York Post reported Friday.

TMZ Sports reported that Tyson had posed for a selfie with the passenger and his friend when they first boarded the flight. But the man kept bothering Tyson after the photo.

The video posted by TMZ showed the passenger sitting behind Tyson and chattering, mugging for the camera and pestering him.

There is an edit in the video before the recording then shows Tyson reaching over from his own seat and pummeling the man as another passenger tried to push Tyson away from the altercation.

The video ends with the man Tyson pummeled making a sad face and pointing to the contusions on the right side of his face.

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Sources told TMZ that the man Tyson punched was “extremely intoxicated … and wouldn’t stop provoking the boxer in his seat.”

But now Tyson’s camp is saying the provocation was more than just verbal.

“Unfortunately, Mr. Tyson had an incident on a flight with an aggressive passenger who began harassing him and threw a water bottle at him while he was in his seat,” Tyson’s representatives said, according to the Post.

The San Francisco Police Department issued a statement about the incident on Twitter.

“On Wednesday April 20, 2022 at approximately 10:06 PM, officers assigned to the SFPD Airport Bureau were dispatched to a physical altercation onboard an airplane located at the Domestic Terminal” of the San Francisco International Airport, it said.

“Officers arrived and detained two subjects that were believed to be involved in the incident. One subject was treated at the scene for non-life-threatening injuries. That subject provided minimal details of the incident + refused to cooperate further with the investigation,” the department said.

It said both subjects were released pending further investigation.

Violence is almost always a bad idea, but sometimes people earn the ire with which they are confronted. The video clearly shows that the passenger was constantly pestering Tyson.

It is a bit hard to understand what he expected from the boxing champion, but alcohol apparently played a role in his actions.

The incident seems to have provoked more sympathy for Tyson than for the man he punched.

Rapper and actor Ice T had no sympathy for the passenger:

And UFC chief Dana White had an amusing bit of advice for folks:

It just goes to show that poking the bear is never a good idea, and sometimes you earn your rewards.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.