What would’ve been 2003’s most interesting fight is now a fascinating and bizarre part of 2020’s boxing landscape.
Mike Tyson (50-6-0 44 KOs) will fight Roy Jones Jr. (66-9-0 47 KOs) in a heavyweight fight on November 28th from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California on pay per view. The live stream will be on TysononThriller.com and on FITE TV. Tyson, now 54, stirred up interest in a comeback bout by posting workout videos online. Roy Jones Jr, despite being 51 was fighting until 2018, defeating Scott Sigmon in a cruiserweight contest. Jones Jr is a former four-division world champion, including taking a heavyweight title in 2002. Tyson of course was the most feared and intimidating fighter of the late ’80s and early ’90s, starting his career 37-0, becoming the youngest heavyweight champion ever, and the ferocity he fought with. He fell upon controversy, jail, and poor performances late in his career and underwent a public reformation over the last several years.
This exhibition fight is one that both fighters are being said to take seriously. The pad work videos both have put out are impressive men who are AARP eligible. Tyson’s sparring reportedly has been up to 7 rounds now. Jones Jr clearly still has a desire to fight and will have a lot less ring rust. Both are preparing for this exhibition as seriously as they would have a fight 20 years ago.
California State Athletic Commission executive director Andy Foster stated that the bout, which takes place at Los Angeles’ Staples Center, should not be confused with a “fight-fight” and that the fighters have been instructed to not go beyond “hard sparring.” Foster also said referee Ray Corona will be enforcing that neither man is to actively look for a knockout and will keep the intensity of the bout in check. It is scheduled for 8 rounds, which will be 2 minutes each.
Both fighters have been adamant that they will be fighting full out, and that a knockout would not be a surprise. “Listen, I don’t know what you’re talking about that it’s not a real fight,” Tyson said. “It’s Mike Tyson and Roy Jones and I’m coming to fight and I hope he’s coming to fight. That’s all you need to know.” Jones Jr echoed the sentiment saying “First of all if you think you’re going to get in the ring with Mike Tyson, the last guy to get an “exhibition” with Mike got dropped in the first round. If you don’t know that, there’s something wrong with you. Who goes in the ring with the great, legendary Mike Tyson and thinks “Oh, this is an exhibition”? 12-ounce gloves? No headgear? Really? This is an exhibition? Come on, bro. Be real.”
The fight is for a belt. The WBC has come on to score the fight and will award a “Frontline Championship” to the winner of the fight. Of course, this isn’t the only one on the card. The main card is backed by Logan Paul, yes the guy who lost to another YouTuber, who is fighting Nate Robinson, the former NBA player in a cruiserweight fight. Also fighting will be Badou Jack, former light heavyweight champion, taking on the undefeated Blake McKernan. Viddal Ridley and Rashad Coulter will open the main card in a cruiserweight bout.
Philadelphia born Nahir Albright (8-1-0 2 KOs) will headline the undercard against the 13-0-0 7 KOs Jamaine Ortiz in a lightweight fight. Irvin Gonzalez Jr. will fight Edward Vazquez at featherweight and heavyweights will open the night as Joe Cusumano fights Nick Jones.