Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson returned to the “sweet science” last night in Los Angeles for the first time in over 15 years, headlining the “Frontline Battle” pay-per-view (PPV) event against fellow 50-something pugilist Roy Jones Jr.
Whether or not you enjoyed it largely depends on your expectations heading into the fight.
Their eight-round exhibition, which lasted all of 16 minutes, was dominated by “Iron” Mike, who battered a clinch-happy Jones from bell-to-bell. Not that it mattered, as their fake fight was probably destined to end in a fake draw regardless of circumstance.
The blame — or credit, depending on what side of the argument you’re on — falls squarely on the shoulders of California State Athletic Commission (CSAC). Tyson and Jones were not allowed to score a knockout and no winner (or official decision) was to be handed down.
Probably because they’re so old and nobody wants to see them get hurt.
In an effort to keep the fans happy, World Boxing Council (WBC) provided three celebrity judges who would arbitrarily choose a winner based on ... well that’s where it gets murky, despite the fact that Tyson outlanded Jones 67-37 (according to CompuBox).
I have no idea what the scoring criteria was for the remote judges because Vinny Pazienza had Jones winning 80-76, failing to give Tyson a single round. Chad Dawson put it even at 76-76 while Christy Martin gave it to Tyson 79-73.
Even Jones was mystified.
“I’m never satisfied with draws,” he told Jim Gray after the fight. “I wear drawers, I don’t do draws.”
I don’t think anyone should be surprised. It was no secret that Tyson and Jones were booked to entertain, not to kill, and even with our collectively low expectations, the fight delivered. Tyson fought like an athlete who understood that fans paid to see him.
George Foreman called it the best exhibition he’s ever seen.
Just don't get your hopes up in terms of a boxing comeback. Tyson is donating a significant portion of his purse to charity and if he does return to the ring in 2021, it will likely be for another exhibition.
“I’m happy I got this under my belt to keep doing this and go further,” Tyson said. “This is bigger than fighting and winning the championship. We’re humanitarians and we’re helping people.”
As for Jones, he looked lazy and out-of-shape, seemingly content to clinch and absorb punches. Or perhaps he just didn’t know how to acclimate his skillset to the modified rules. Either way, he didn’t sound in any real hurry to make another run during his post-fight interview.
For complete Tyson vs. Jones results and play-by-play click here.