Boxing: Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr. preview

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Danny Howard

July 27th, 2020

After months of speculation and hype, Mike Tyson is following through with his promise of a comeback.

His opponent is none other than fellow boxing great Roy Jones Jr., and the two are set to square off in an eight-round exhibition Sept. 12.

Here's what we know about the Battle of the Aged.

What’s the story behind this fight?

A few months back, training footage of the 54-year-old Tyson emerged that sent the boxing world ablaze. He looked sharp and powerful on the mitts. Tyson’s video went viral and prompted the debate of a potential comeback. Potential costar’s varied, from former rival Evander Holyfield, to opportunists like Shannon Briggs and Riddick Bowe, to the bizarre, like MMA legend Tito Ortiz.

The winner of the Tyson sweepstakes is Jones, who won titles from middleweight to heavyweight in his storied career. Jones, 51, ended his career three years ago, with a win over Scott Sigmon. Despite their age and the considerable amount of ring rust, this is a dream match that we nearly had 17 years ago.

Jones and Tyson nearly fought in 2003

Shortly after Jones became the first former middleweight champion to win the heavyweight title in over a century, he turned his attention to a super fight with the fading Tyson.

Though Tyson was one fight removed from a lopsided loss to Lennox Lewis the year before, a Tyson/Jones bout would have been a historic event in 2003. While both Jones and Tyson were receptive to a two-fight series, they couldn’t come to an agreement about the purse split and other details.

Once the fight fell apart, so did the competitors. Jones returned to light heavyweight and suffered back-to-back knockout losses to Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson. Tyson fought twice more before he retired in 2005.

What can we expect on fight night?

Unfortunately for fight fans expecting a geriatric grinder, this is an exhibition through and through. Andy Foster, the executive director of the California State Athletic Commission, emphasized that this is purely an exhibition.

“We can’t mislead the public as to this is some kind of real fight,” he said. He also said there would be no judges keeping score for the fight.

Foster also mentioned that, in a meeting with both fighters, Tyson and Jones are expected to keep the action fairly pedestrian. This is just going to be a glorified sparring session on pay-per-view.