By and large, expectations were low heading into the Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr. event.
Sure, there were some rare fans stuck in the ‘90s who expected Tyson to return in prime form and throw murderous punches. Most of us, however, understand that age drags down even the best champions, and the rules seem to indicate that neither fighter would actually be allowed to try.
The undercard boasted a squash match with odds wider than the most recent Valentina Shevchenko fight, and a YouTuber vs. former NBA star. Beyond the hype of legendary names, there was no real reason to get excited.
Yet, somehow, it was a pretty fun night.
Jamaine Ortiz vs. Sulaiman Segawa was the closest thing to a competitive bout on the night, and the back-and-forth contest ended via a satisfying body shot stoppage. Badou Jack fought a terribly overmatched Blake McKernan, but McKernan at least managed to demonstrate some admirable — if unhealthy — toughness in surviving to the final bell.
Nothing awe-inspiring, but nor was it a waste of time.
Consider me impressed by the co-main event as well. I don’t remember what hapless YouTuber Paul beat up back in February — because, I don’t care — but I do recall Jake Paul looking for more skilled in the ring than his brother. By all accounts, Jake Paul is the one taking this seriously, training with a real team of boxers and putting in the work to actually develop his skills.
Nate Robinson very clearly did not do that. He fought like his training consisted solely of watching Naruto montages. Presumably, he hit a back at some point, but it’s hard for me to believe he did much else. The California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) should be embarrassed they licensed him as a professional.
It was a black mark for boxing ... but damn, it was also a tremendous knockout. I genuinely cannot emphasize how much I do not care about YouTube stars, but I was floored by the finishing shot. It was spectacular, regardless of the fact that Robinson was running forward chin-first, asking to be put down hard.
After that win, I’m far more interested in watching Jake Paul box someone along the lines of Ben Askren or Dillon Danis. That sounds reasonable, hilarious, and quite possibly fun.
Finally, the main event largely delivered. It did not produce an incredible Mike Tyson KO or genius RJJ display of movement, but it was interesting! Tyson put some real stink on his punches, hammering the body. There was more clinch work than anyone asked for, but even so, it was worth it to see the occasional flash of speed from Jones Jr.
The bout being named a draw was painful, but then, we cannot blame Tyson or his legend’s league idea for being unable to fix boxing’s primary problem.
Was the whole show worth $50? That probably depends on just how much these legendary boxers mean to you personally. As someone who didn’t really grow up with either of them, I’d lean towards no, but even so, it was still pretty cool to watch a Mike Tyson fight live.
Depending on the legends selected, these events could get really interesting. Hell, we’re just 15 years away from an exhibition MMA fight between Tony Ferguson and Khabib!
For complete Tyson vs. Jones results and play-by-play, click HERE!