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Mike Tyson to continue with exhibitions: Will fans pay to see them?

Mike Tyson Roy Jones Jr.

By Allan Fox: Mike Tyson is encouraged by the success of his exhibition match against 51-year-old Roy Jones Jr last Saturday night, and he plans on continuing with them.  Tyson (50-6, 44 KOs) and Jones (66-9, 47 KOs) fought to a very dull eight-round draw in their Legends exhibition match at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

The match with Jones had the look of a scripted professional wrestling type of affair where the outcome was planned ahead of time. The way that Tyson, 54, and Jones fought, they seemed to be pulling their punches and going through a simulated.

It didn’t look real

For boxing fans that thought they were going to see a real fight, it was a big disappointment. Lowering the price on these exhibition matches might keep fans interested because a massive amount of people chose not to purchase the card due to the high cost.

These fans would have likely paid to see if it the price were lowered to $10, which is arguably what it should have been priced at.

Tyson wants to fight exhibition matches every two months, and he had no shortages of older retired fighters that are willing to face him. What could be the limiting factor if the idea of all the money from the fights going to charity?

It’s difficult to imagine former world champions like Evander Holyfield fighting Tyson for free without profiting on the fight.

“I’m happy I’m not knocked out or anything. I’ll be better the next one,” Tyson said at the post-fight news conference last Saturday night.

“I could have done everything better. God willing I’ll be better at the next exhibition.”

PPV buys will drop unless fans see knockouts

If the exhibition matches are going to be staged choreographed affairs with the punches missing or connecting with only partial power, Tyson could see a steady drop off in pay-per-view buys.

It is possible to have exhibition matches where both fighters are trying to knock each other out. For example, Floyd Mayweather Jr destroyed his opponent Tenshin Nasukawa by a first-round knockout in 2018.

That fight didn’t look fake at all. I mean, it a terrible mismatch, but it didn’t have the totally fake appearance that we saw with Tyson’s fight against Roy Jones Jr last Saturday.

Tyson looked like he was intentionally ignoring Jones’ head with his punches, and it looked so obvious that it wasn’t a real fight. That’s fine, but if you’re charging fans $50 to see you dance around the ring, it’s going to be tough to continue to get the boxing public to purchase these spectacles.

The undercards need improving

In addition to making his fights real and not pseudo, the organizers for Tyson’s events need to put some quality fights on the undercard. Last Saturday’s Tyson-Jones undercard was horrible.

There was nothing to see but mismatches, and the Youtube fight between Jake Paul and the NBA player Nate Robinson looked completely unfair.

If boxing fans are going to be charged $50 per household to watch these cards, the organizers should take some of that money and use it to assemble a halfway decent undercard instead of what we saw last Saturday.

“I was just happy to go the distance with him. That’s real fighting, having the endurance,” Tyson said. “You’re not going to knock everybody out. I used to go for the quick kill. I’m training for distance now.”

“I don’t expect to win. I expect to go eight rounds and entertain the crowd.”

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