The Manchester boxer has questioned whether Cunningham is big enough to be considered a heavyweight and has vowed to end his opponent's career.
The 36-year-old told Fightnews.com: "It felt disrespectful. It was disrespectful. Tyson did get a little under my skin. He talked and he woke up a little anger in me that probably wasn't there before.
"Now camp is more intense because I want to beat this dude right. I want to do it properly. He sparked a little fire in me that's helping my drive. It's helping me get up and run and do what I'm supposed to do. He woke up another dragon that's in me.
"There were four guys on his list to fight, solid heavyweights almost his own size, but he chooses me, the smallest guy on the list and the one who's supposedly not a heavyweight. So why would he want to fight me? Like I said, something's up with him."
The fight is due to take place in Madison Square Garden on April 20.