By Max Seitelman: Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr will be fighting a senior circuit-level fight on September 12, called the ‘Frontline Battle’ on PPV at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
The 54-year-old Tyson states that he’s coming out of retirement because he’s taking care of his body, and he feels the older fighters like him and 51-year-old Jones Jr (66-9, 47 KOs) are more popular than today’s boxers.
With the scarcity of stars in this era in the heavyweight division, former superstars like Tyson and Jones can take advantage of that by returning to the ring. However, their fight isn’t going to be like a regular fight, unfortunately.
It’s an eight-round exhibition match with 12-ounce gloves, and Tyson and Roy aren’t going to be looking to take each other’s heads off with every punch. This fight is more about Jones and ‘Iron’ Mike (50-6, 44 KOs) showing off their skills.
Mike Tyson will be coming out of his 15-year retirement to battle former #1 pound-for-pound star Roy Jones Jr. The fight was offered to Jones Jr in 2003, but he passed it up for a title defense against Antonio Tarver.
Tyson views age as not a factor
“Listen, we’re both accomplished fighters, and we know how to take care of ourselves. It’s an eight-round exhibition. Listen, we’ll be alright, trust me,” said Mike Tyson to Max Kellerman of ESPN.
“When I knocked Larry Holmes out in four rounds, he was prepared, and he took the fight with me. He won a few matches after me, and then he went the distance with Evander Holyfield.
“He went the distance with Holyfield and Ray Mercer, losing by one point. So imagine if he fought me with that experience he fought Holyfield and Oliver McCall, it wouldn’t have been a four-round fight.
“That old man would have taken me the distance. You know that too. It was the same thing with George Foreman. What happened when I knocked out Larry Holmes? He had the greatest comeback in history.
“He went the distance with two great champions, two legends he [Holmes] was active, and once he became more active, he became more potent,” said Tyson.
It’s true what Tyson says about Larry Holmes having some success after he beat him in 1988, but those wins were against lesser opposition. Holmes never beat an A-level fighter ever again after losing three straight fights to Tyson, Evander Holyfield, and Michael Spinks from 1985 to 1988.
Holmes was washed up by the time he hit his late 30s. Although Larry did continue to fight until 2002, he wasn’t facing the elite heavyweights.
Iron Mike explains the difference between him and Ali
“Me and the greatest [Muhammad Ali] lived a different lifestyle,” said Tyson on why he can still fight at 54 when Ali was passed his prime at a much younger age. “I never took that many punches after I fought my last fight, and I feel I took better care of my body than most fighters that retired and came back.
“The rules in California are that you need to wear headgear. But we’re in there showing our skills, and we’re fighting,” said Tyson on his fight against Roy Jones Jr.
“When you sign that contract, there’s an unwritten clause in there in the professional boxing contract. At any moment in training and fighting, you can die. That’s just what it is.
“The people that they’re talking about being old and washed up, they have a bigger fan base than the guys fighting now,” said Tyson.
“So, what’s the purpose? The name of the game is to get fans excited at seeing us again. They have a bigger fan base than the guys that are playing,” said Tyson.
Fans were hoping that Tyson would face Holyfield, who has come out of retirement as well, but he’s decided to take an arguably lesser threat. Holyfield twice beat Tyson in their prime, and it’s possible that Mike doesn’t want to relive that experience in 2020.