Two boxing legends step into the ring for an exhibition fight, but anybody that saw these two in their prime are anticipating a full-fledged war.
They’re calling it an “exhibition fight.”
Good luck enforcing that…
Mike Tyson was the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world between 1987 and 1990. He is the youngest ever heavyweight champion and went on to win 50 fights, 44 by knockout. No fighter has ever been feared more than a prime Mike Tyson. For better or worse, his reputation precedes him. Even now.
Roy Jones Jr has tried to retire multiple times but is back for one more fight after his latest comeback trail ended with a win over Scott Sigmon in February 2018. Jones Jr. wrapped up with a record of 66 wins, 47 by knockout, and only nine losses. He is considered one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters of all time and became the first former middleweight champion to win a heavyweight title in 106 years when he beat John Ruiz in March 2003.
Tyson may be 54 years old and Jones Jr. 51, but these two are still killers at heart. With “no winner to be announced” according to the executive director of the California State Athletic Commission Andy Foster, and “no official judges” on hand to determine one, there is only one way for these two fighters to unquestionably claim victory on Sunday afternoon (AEDT): a knockout.
While the older of the two and with more ring rust to work through, Tyson is a heavy $1.57 favourite to win (as judged by the WBC). It’s not hard to see why he is such a short price. This video surfaced 18 months ago and may well have gone a long way to making this fight happen. Impromptu and seemingly unaware of the camera, Tyson shows that his lighting fast hands are still a force to be reckoned with.
Reminder that this was Mike Tyson last year 😶
Still got it. pic.twitter.com/88bzAhRdkF
— ESPN (@espn) March 5, 2020
While spending a lot of time away from boxing in recent years, nobody will question the force behind those hands remains.
What Tyson is likely to have in power, Jones Jr. ($3 to win) will carry speed, athleticism and more recent experience into the ring on Sunday. Plenty will tell you Jones Jr. fought on too long as he struggled through the last decade. Nonetheless, he remains in great shape and what were once the fastest hands in the fight game are still very much fast. He hasn’t had to transform his body like Tyson has either. Instead, he has been able to work on his craft and concentrate on the sweet science.
The Baddest Vegan on the Planet! Mike Tyson says he dropped 100lbs by cutting out meat https://t.co/2Iz1dc2FSx
— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) November 23, 2020
While the organisers of the fight won’t announce a winner, the WBC will. However, some concrete rules are in place:
- The bout will take place over 8 rounds at two minutes each.
- The boxers will not be required to wear head gear
- Tyson and Jones will be wearing 12-ounce gloves
- If either boxer suffers a bad cut, the exhibition is over.
- Tyson and Jones had to undergo complete medical testing in order to be cleared for the bout and both athletes entered VADA (Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency) testing prior to the contest.
Having seen his speed before entering camp for this fight and assuming a large chunk of his famous power remains years on, it’s hard to go past Tyson here. One punch and it is all over. One punch might be enough to shake the legs of Jones Jr., put him on the backfoot, and remove the underdog’s speed advantage.
The two-minute rounds play into Tyson’s charging style as well. He won’t be afraid to spend full rounds moving forward and closing down the space. Jones Jr., on the other hand, will be looking to evade wild punches. His intention will to be patient in landing his most dangerous strikes. He may not have enough time to be as patient as he would like.
Tyson will struggle to keep the pace for the full eight rounds. It has been 15 years since he last stepped into a serious fight after all. But should he land a few punches to start and win the early rounds through his aggression, it will only take one or two rounds later in the fight to seal it with the judges.