Two of boxing’s most dazzling figures, Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr., return to the ring this Saturday (Nov. 28, 2020) for an eight-round pay-per-view (PPV) exhibition match from inside Staples Center Los Angeles, California. The card, which also features musical performances from the likes of Lil Wayne and Wiz Khalifa (as well as commentary from UFC Middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya), will host a trio of actual professional bouts. The co-main pits YouTuber Jake Paul against former NBA star Nate Robinson; however, before that, former two-division champ Badou Jack fights unbeaten Blake McKernan, while Viddal Riley opens the show against former UFC Heavyweight Rashad Coulter.
But forget all that — you’re here for the PPV main event (watch it here), and we’ve got the deets ...
“Iron” Mike Tyson
Record: 50-6 (44 KO)
Last Five Fights: Kevin McBride (RTD-6 Loss), Danny Williams (KO-4 Loss), Clifford Etienne (KO-1), Lennox Lewis (KO-8 Loss), Brian Nielsen (RTD-6)
Significant Victories (other than those mentioned above): Frans Botha, Frank Bruno x2, Donovan Ruddock x2, Michael Spinks, Tony Tubbs, Larry Holmes, Tony Tucker
Roy Jones Jr.
Record: 66-9 (47 KO)
Last Five Fights: Scott Sigmon (UD), Bobby Gunn (TKO-8), Rodney Moore (UD), Vyron Phillips (TKO-2), Enzo Maccarinelli (TKO-4 Loss)
Significant Victories (other than those mentioned above): Jeff Lacy, Felix Trinidad, Antonio Tarver, John Ruiz, Virgil Hill, Montell Griffin, Mike McCallum, Vinny Pazenzia, James Toney, Bernard Hopkins
Let’s clear the air a bit before we start. This is — as all relevant parties besides the fighters themselves have insisted — an exhibition. The fight won’t be scored, and nobody’s expected to get hurt. Do I think one of these two is going to go off-script and turn this into genuine slugfest? While the marketing team is unquestioningly going to use that possibility to try and drive sales, the answer is no. Even if one of them does try, the referee will shut it down.
That’s my prediction: a toothless sparring session between two past-it legends.
Prediction: No contest
It would be boring to just leave it at that, though, wouldn’t it? Let’s imagine the sort of potentially bite-induced scenario where a couple of ridiculously jacked quinquagenarians decide to give California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) a collective heart attack.
Jones hasn’t scored a noteworthy win since stopping what was left of Jeff Lacy in 2008, but he kept fighting until 2018. Tyson hasn’t laced them up since 2005. If nothing else, there’s a much better chance of Jones still having professional levels of cardio, as he successfully went 10 rounds in 2016 and 2018. We’ve seen Tyson look scary hitting pads, sure, but pads don’t hit back and he didn’t have to hit them for more than a minute or two.
Tyson’s cardio was already consistently failing him by the time he called it quits. No matter how impressive his physique, I can’t imagine it being any better 15 years later.
The big question, then, is whether Jones can last long enough to tire out Tyson. The answer: Probably. Scary as that power was, Tyson’s speed and movement were the keys to his success, and he’d already lost those by the time Jones was demolishing light heavyweights at the turn of the millennium. Jones relied massively on his athleticism as well, but he theoretically still has enough technique to make use of his height and reach advantages.
While Tyson was solving mysteries, putting on one-man shows, and giving us the world’s greatest Herman Cain impression, Jones was staying active in that ring. In this scenario that, I must stress, will not occur, that proves the difference. Hypothetical Jones beats down a gassed Hypothetical Tyson just past the halfway mark.
Hypothetical prediction: Jones via fifth-round technical knockout
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