By Chris Williams: 54-year-old Mike Tyson will be coming out his 15-year retirement to face former four-division world champion Roy Jones Jr in an eight-round exhibition match on September 12 on pay-per-view at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
Mike Tyson’s management’s decision to book the Mexican holiday on September 12 for his comeback fight could impact Canelo Alvarez’s next contest, which Golden Boy Promotions had planned for that date on DAZN.
The way Canelo can compete against boxing great Tyson (50-6, 44 KOs) for viewers is if he faces a famous fighter with talent, and that’s not what he’s expected to do.
Canelo could be fighting British fighter Callum Smith on September 12, and that’s a match-up that won’t interest Americans. Consequently, Canelo will need to move off the September date, and look for another month.
Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr to without fans present
Tyson vs. Jones will take place behind closed doors without boxing fans present, as the pandemic is still preventing crowds from gathering in California.
12-ounce gloves will be worn but NO headgear, according to Yahoo Sports News.
The Tyson-Jones Jr was reportedly shopped around to the Middle East, but there was no interest. It’s possible that there would have been some interest from one of those countries in staging the highly famous Tyson’s comeback fight, but the pandemic spoiled things.
51-year-old Roy Jones Jr (66-9, 47 KOs) hasn’t fought 2018 when he defeated journeyman Scott Sigmon by a 10 round unanimous decision. In the last six years of Jones’ career, he’s been competing at cruiserweight, which should make it a lot easier for him to move up to heavyweight to face Tyson.
— Mike Tyson (@MikeTyson) July 23, 2020
Despite there being a lot of interest in ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson’s return to the ring, it’s going to be a tough sell for him and Roy Jones Jr to try and sell their eight-round exhibition fight on pay-per-view.
The U.S economy is in shambles due to the pandemic, and there aren’t a lot of fans that have $70 to $100 to pay to see Tyson fight the sometimes chinny Jones Jr.
In the last half of Jones’ career, he was knocked out five times by these fighters:
- Antonio Tarver – TKO 2
- Glen Johnson – KO 9
- Danny Green – KO 1
- Dennis Lebedev – KO 10
- Enzo Maccarinelli – KO4
In four of those fights, Jones was knocked out in the clinical sense. These weren’t technical knockouts. He was severely hurt in four of those fights and looked beyond shot.
Will Tyson take it easy on Jones?
“Tyson-Jones is a believe-it-when-I-see it. Fans won’t be allowed in California, and is there really a market for that on pay per view? Reps for Tyson had been looking into Middle East options, but there was no interest,” said Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated on Twitter.
“This isn’t a situation where they’re going out there to try to take each other’s heads off,” executive director of the California State Athletic Commission Andy Foster said to Yahoo Sports News.
“They’re just going to be in there moving around the ring and letting fans see these legends.”
It’s hard to picture Mike Tyson taking it easy on Jones Jr, and not opening up with the full force at least a few times in the fight. The thing is, Jones’ punch resistance has proven to be so weak in the latter part of his career, he’ll be at risk of getting knocked out by Tyson the first time he hits him with a solid shot.
Roy Jones Jr will need to be careful
Jones still is quite fast, but he’s not a natural heavyweight, and he’s going to need to be able to take some big shots from Tyson to go the full eight rounds. The 12-ounce gloves will lessen the impact of Tyson’s blows somewhat, but not enough for Jones to be able to take eight rounds of punishment.
Jones is said to have been offered a fight against Tyson after he defeated WBA heavyweight champion, John Ruiz, in March 2003, but he turned it down and fought Antonio Tarver.
That was a blown opportunity for Jones Jr at the time, but at least he’s getting a shot at fighting Tyson now. As the saying goes, ‘better late than never.’ The money that Jones Jr is getting to fight Tyson now at age 51 is likely a lot different than what he would have made in 2003.