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Hearn HATES Mike Tyson exhibition idea, wants it to be real fight

Image: Hearn HATES Mike Tyson exhibition idea, wants it to be real fight

By Matt Lieberman: British promoter Eddie Hearn wants nothing to do with the proposed exhibition match for boxing legend Mike Tyson when he comes back. Hearn says if the 53-year-old former IBF/WBA/WBC heavyweight champion ‘Iron Mike’ Tyson (50-6, 44 KOs) wants to come out of retirement, he should fight in a real professional match and NOT an exhibition match.

Given that fans will need to pay to watch Tyson’s exhibition match, it should be a real fight, according to Hearn. The Matchroom Boxing promoter Hearn fears that Tyson’s exhibition match could turn out to be a train wreck in terms of it being a poor performance.

What Hearn is worried about is Tyson or his opponent may be joking around inside the ring, and that would be a disappointment for the paying fans to see. However, Tyson is likely to look bad even if the match counts as a true professional fight.

He hasn’t fought in 15 years since losing to journeyman Kevin McBride in 2005. Tyson was in his last 30s then, and he looked shot to bits.

There is a chance that Tyson will look amazing in his exhibition fight, and the paying fans will be pleased with the entertainment. The chances of that happening are slim and more likely, this will be a massive letdown for fans.

Mike Tyson’s exhibition match could be a mess

“No, someone talked to me about it,” said Eddie Hearn to IFL TV when asked if he’s getting involved with Mike Tyson’s exhibition match. “He’s talking to loads of people about it with sparring, exhibitions and stuff like that. It’s a strange one, isn’t it?

“A couple of my mates, who don’t really follow boxing. They’re the casual fans that we love,” said Hearn. “They said, ‘Oh mate, Tyson is coming back. I’d watch that.’ Then you speak to people in the game, who say, ‘This is going to be the worst thing ever.’ I’m leaning towards that side. People will say, ‘You did KSI and Logan Paul,’ but these are guys who are young and in their prime.

“They’re never going to be good fighters, and they’re never going to be that good. With Tyson, he’s an absolute legend of the sport and one of the best heavyweights of all time.

“So we don’t really want to see him come back, but people will watch. And if people will watch, people will pay, and if people will pay, someone will generally make it happen,” said Hearn on Mike Tyson’s exhibition match.

It wouldn’t be as big a deal for Tyson to look bad if he fought in a professional match against one of the top contenders in the division. If Tyson came back and fought the likes of Otto Wallin, Tom Schwartz, or Charles Martin, his fight would be better received.

If Tyson lost to one of those fighters, it wouldn’t be nearly as bad for him than if he were beaten by 57-year-old Evander Holyfield or 51-year-old James Toney.

Tyson would likely have a hard time finding a state in the U.S that would sanction a professional match between him and a top contender.

Hearn wants Mike Tyson’s fight to be a real one

“I don’t even like exhibitions,” said Hearn. “What is an exhibition? Are you going to charge someone to watch an exhibition? It’s either a fight or it’s not, is it? If it’s an exhibition, you go in and joke around. The problem with an exhibition is that it can be so cringe.

“I’d rather he [Tyson] have a fight rather than an exhibition. Yes,” said Hearn when asked if he’d prefer Mike Tyson to fight a properly licensed fight that counts on his professional record. “Yeah, but if you do an exhibition, everyone is going in there and joking around and running around the ring.

“What’s that to watch? Either you have a proper fight, or you don’t. So I don’t even want him to fight, but I’m just saying that if he’s going to have one of the two, I’d rather he have a proper fight than an exhibition.

Hearn doesn’t say who he would like to see Tyson fight in a professional bout if he comes back. Does he want Tyson to face a top contender, or would he be happy to see him face a second-tier fighter?

These would be good options for Tyson to fight in a professional match:

  • Dave Allen
  • Chris Arreola
  • David Price

“Nothing,” said Hearn when asked what level of participation he’s had in Mike Tyson’s exhibition match. “They wanted to know how much money I’d pay,” said Hearn.

Tyson has been out of the sport for too long for him to be cleared to fight against a world-ranked contender. There are plenty of journeyman fighters that Tyson could fight in a professional match, but he wouldn’t receive credit fighting them.


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