Don’t call it a comeback… Mike Tyson vs Roy Jones Jr. Call it an exhibition, the magic of marketing, and the staying power of an iconic name.
Iron Mike Tyson, 54, makes his first ring appearance in 15 years when he faces 51-year-old Roy Jones Jr. Sept. 12 for an exhibition in California on pay-per-view.
The two former heavyweight boxing champions confirmed the event Thursday, kick-starting an event with several implications.
- It launches Tyson’s new Legends Only League for senior athletes in which great competitors face each other in their respective sports. The league was announced one day before this exhibition.
- The event is promoted by Triller, the rapidly-growing social-media platform.
- There will be several undercard bouts, including one involving an NBA Slam Dunk champion and a YouTube star.
- The event includes live musical performances and may become an entertainment show wrapped around a few fights.
Mike Tyson vs Roy Jones Jr. Odds
Early odds have been swirling at various sites, although nothing is posted by the big sportsbooks.
It will merely be a lively discussion among New Jersey bettors until one of the mainstream NJ sports betting apps puts up a number and starts generating action.
But it’s fun to speculate upon.
The bookmakers will have to decide how seriously the fighters will go at it before having any conviction.
Indeed, Tyson and Jones had to convince the California State Athletic Commission that they wouldn’t seek to take one another’s heads off in the eight-round bout, presumably with large gloves.
Why else would the commission allow fighters with a combined age of 105 years risk their health?
A Relaxed Iron Mike
Tyson says he is fighting Jones for charity and “because I can”. Once known as The Baddest Man on the Planet, he has become one of the most benevolent.
Iron Mike has routinely given this time for charitable events, hosted a program on the Fox network, and lately begun a widely-circulated podcast, in which he interviews fellow athletes.
In this realm, he has not only reached out to fighters but UFC stars like Justin Gaethje. Tyson expressed joy at watching Francis Ngannou win his last fight in 20 seconds and gushed about him as a future champ on Twitter. Ngannou may indeed be a UFC version of Tyson.
Iron Mike has become a popular elder statesman and his comeback comments Thursday put him in the realm of everyman.
“I was 90 pounds overweight, doing cocaine and drinking,” he said, smiling. “Then I changed my whole life. I got married and began working out. I don’t want anybody to think I’m getting rich off this or doing it for the money because I’m not. I’m just happy my life is not what it was before.”
It’s nearly impossible to realize from his broad smile that the younger Tyson is probably the most intimidating fighter who has lived.
Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in history (at 20 years and four months) by stopping Trevor Berbick in two rounds in November 1986.
A couple of years later in Atlantic City, future President Donald Trump, then a casino owner, spent a record $12 million site fee to host Tyson’s epic battle against Michael Spinks. It lasted less than one round, with Spinks counted out and it was the first mega boxing event in the Atlantic City casino era.
Tyson ‘s patented left hook – often set up by ducking an opponent’s punch and obtaining position inside – gave him rare one-punch mystique. He is one of the most recognized fighters of all time.
His last bout was a loss to in 2005 to Kevin McBride.
Jones vs Tyson is the Real Deal
Videos of Tyson looking sculped, swift and powerful emerged at the end of this past spring.
A fight between Tyson and Shannon Briggs was announced, setting up a media firestorm, before a promoter said his Facebook account had been hacked, setting up the wrong announcement.
This time the event looks real, even if the fighters look much different.
Fans know Jones as being one of the craftiest, most elusive and intelligent fighters of his era. He turned pro in 1989 and still waged bouts up until 2018, although he hasn’t been the Jones we remember since the early 2000’s.
Jones has been a commentator, promoter and trainer, enjoying the fruits of a successful professional career.
Between 1993 and 2003, Jones had a remarkable run. He won the middleweight, super-middleweight, light-heavyweight and heavyweight championships.
He fought as recently as 2018. And although Jones has not been fighting top opposition, he has been fighting.
“I’ve ‘ve been trying to enjoy retirement, but people don’t seem to want to let me retire,” Jones said. “They keep calling me, telling me that Mike wants to come back and that you’d be a great opponent for Mike.
“We always wanted to see it, but I would’ve preferred it back then. Tyson is a hell of a specimen still. Still a problem to deal with. But at the same time, life is life, you only live once. You want to know what it’s like, you go in there and see.
“He better get it right away,” Jones said of Tyson trying for a knockout, “or he is going to be in trouble”.
Undercard Clown Show
On the Mike Tyson vs Roy Jones Jr. undercard, NBA Slam-Dunk champion Nate Robinson will face a Social Media personality, Jake Paul, whose claim to fame is 20 million YouTube followers.
Paul recording a rap song entitled “It’s Everyday Bro” that received nearly 270 million views. It was released on May 30, 2017 and, on one chart, is the seventh most disliked video of all time. Hey, Justin Bieber made that list at No. 2 with Baby.
This fight doesn’t have a line yet either but already has passionate betting overtones.
Robinson’s former teammate Kendrick Perkins said he’ll bet $1,000 on Robinson and implored others to do the same. These are the tactics fight managers did before sports betting was legalized. They made these wagers but did not talk publicly about them.
Times have changed. The betting barbs are out front and will be magnified by each tweet.
Early this year, Paul actually boxed, facing fellow YouTuber AnEsonGib (known as Gib) in a pro debut. The sad, sad match between Paul and Gib was the co-feature to the match between professional boxers Demetrius Andrade and Luke Keeler.
Paul won the fight via one-round TKO… how could this have been an official pro fight? Neither YouTuber looked like they knew what they were doing in there.
Boxing purists cringed, as the “fight” drew media attention and a betting line with Paul favored.
Both fighters were interviewed on the live-streaming service DAZN and the trash-talk involved each claiming the other padded his social-media stats.
That’s the new pre-fight press conference? So sad.