Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr.


Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr. was an eight-round exhibition boxing match contested between former undisputed heavyweight world champion Mike Tyson and former four-division world champion Roy Jones Jr. The bout took place at Staples Center in Los Angeles on November 28, 2020, and was sanctioned by the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC). With three former WBC champions acting as judges, the result was scored as a controversial split draw.[2]

Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr.
DateNovember 28, 2020
VenueStaples Center
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Title(s) on the lineWBC Frontline Battle Belt
Tale of the tape
Boxer Mike Tyson Roy Jones Jr.
Nickname "Iron" "Junior"
Hometown New York City, U.S. Pensacola, Florida, U.S.
Pre-fight record 50–6 (44 KOs) 66–9 (47 KOs)
Height 5 ft 10 in (178 cm) 5 ft 11 in (180 cm)
Weight 220.4 lb (100 kg)[1] 210 lb (95 kg)
Style Orthodox Orthodox
Recognition Former undisputed heavyweight champion 4-division world champion
Result
Split draw (79-73 Tyson, 76-76 draw, 80-76 Jones)

Background


Mike Tyson

In September 2006, a year after his retirement, Tyson announced that he would embark on a world tour of exhibition fights billed as "Mike Tyson's World Tour" in a bid to overcome the debt he was in at the time. His first bout lasted for four rounds and took place at the Chevrolet Centre in Youngstown, Ohio, on October 20, 2006,[3] against former professional boxer and Tyson's sparring partner Corey Sanders.[lower-alpha 1] With 6,000 fans in attendance, the fight failed to live up to expectations and saw the crowd often booing with displeasure.[4] This would be the only exhibition fight of the tour to take place.[5]

Tyson first mentioned the idea of returning to exhibition fights in a YouTube interview with rapper T.I. in April 2020, saying, "I want to go to the gym and get in shape to be able to box three or four-round exhibitions for some charities and stuff."[6] He further teased a potential return to the ring a few weeks later, posting two short videos online of himself training on his Instagram account, and declaring "I'm back" at the end of the second video. Later that month, he said during a Facebook live stream, "Anything's possible. I feel unstoppable now. The gods of war have reawakened me, ignited my ego, and want me to go to war again. I feel like I'm [young] again."[7] Mixed Martial Arts coach Rafael Cordeiro was selected to be Trainer and Cornerman to Tyson for the exhition bout.[8][9]

Roy Jones Jr.

Jones' last bout of his 29-year-long career took place on February 8, 2018, in which he defeated Scott Sigmon via unanimous decision at the Bay Center In Pensacola, Florida. Jones announced his retirement after the bout, but left the door open for a return against UFC fighter Anderson Silva, saying, "Dana, I know you're listening. I know Anderson's suspended. But that's the only other fight Roy Jones will return to the ring for. Other than that, chapter's closed."[10]

Early Offers

Following his Instagram videos and Facebook live stream, Tyson was contacted by Australian boxing promoter Brian Amatruda with an offer of $1 million to face one of three boxers in an exhibition fight: former Australian rules football player Barry Hall, former rugby league player Paul Gallen, or former rugby league player Sonny Bill Williams.[11] According to celebrity agent Max Markson, who was acting as the middleman between Amatruda and Tyson's team, "Mike read the story in the Daily Mail that he would be fighting a rugby player. He has said he would not do that as it would be an insult to boxing. He says if he does get back into the ring, it will be with a real boxer."[12]

Other offers came from Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) president David Feldman for $20 million to fight an opponent of Tyson's choosing, providing that opponent be under contract with the BKFC,[13] and from Boston Boxing Promotions president Peter Czymor for $1.1 million to face former opponent Peter McNeeley, whom Tyson had previously defeated by disqualification in 1995.[14]

Six days after Tyson posted his training videos, Evander Holyfield posted his own video with the caption: "Are you ready? The moment you've all been waiting for... The Champ is back." In an interview with BoxingScene.com, Holyfield expressed his desire to face Tyson in the ring, saying, "I've already done what I wanted to do in my career, and have been the best that I could be. If it wasn't for charity, I wouldn't fight Tyson, I don't look at it as being a winner in this fight. This is a charity event helping our foundations. The thing is knowing what you're doing it for."[15]

Mike Tyson’s Legends Only League

Tyson declined all traditional promoter cash offers and instead partnered with emerging venture creation company Eros Innovations, which had recently been founded by media executive and former movie studio STX Entertainment President Sophie Watts, to launch Mike Tyson's Legends Only League. The goal of the sports venture is to provide infrastructure and support to legendary athletes of all sports to compete in global one-off events.[16] Legends Only League exclusively owns all upcoming Tyson fights.

Signed deal between Tyson and Jones

After two months of negotiations between Tyson’s Legends Only League and Holyfield failed to finalize a deal between the two fighters, it was announced on July 23, 2020 that Jones had signed a contract to face Tyson, with the exhibition initially scheduled to take place on September 12 at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, alongside other boxers appearing on the undercard.[17] Mike Tyson’s Legends Only League announced that the event would include multiple high-profile boxers and musical performers to maximize the audience of the event, and that it would be produced by Sophie Watts and Kiki Tyson, with Mike Tyson, Azim Spicer and Watts’ business partner Johnny Ryan handling the boxing.[18] Undercards included social media star Jake Paul fighting NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Champion Nate Robinson. Musical acts included YG, French Montana, Snoop Dogg, Swae Lee, Wiz Khalifa, and Saint Jhn.[19]

In Summer 2020, the League struck a deal with Triller for the emerging social media platform to license the broadcasting rights to the event. Distribution deals were also made with leading pay-per-view platform InDemand and digital pay-per-view platform Fite.tv to air the event in North America. International broadcasting partners included BT Sports in the United Kingdom and Tencent Sports in mainland China.[20]

In August, it was announced that the date of the event had been pushed back to November 28, 2020 in order to maximize the revenue for the event.[21] At a press conference hosted by Triller on October 29, it was announced that the fight would take place at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.[22] The event was officially sanctioned by the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC). Both fighters were required to submit CSAC medical tests for fighters over 40, and the referee was under specific instructions to stop the match if it goes beyond "the boundaries of a competitive boxing exhibition".[23] The rules for the fight included eight two-minute rounds as well as 12 oz gloves, as opposed to the more traditional 10 oz gloves worn in heavyweight boxing matches.[24]

Scorecard

The fight was a split draw and the three former WBC Champion judges scored the fight as follows: Chad Dawson (76–76 draw), Christy Martin (79–73 for Tyson), and Vinny Pazienza (76–80 for Jones).[25] Compubox numbers showed that Tyson outlanded Jones by a wide margin,[26] and sportswriter Dan Rafael described Pazienza's scorecard as 'pure insanity'.[27]

Undercard

Entertainer Jake Paul faced former NBA player Nate Robinson in the Co-Main Event. For the first round, Paul forced the action, with Robinson often running to Paul and engaging a clinch. Robinson was dropped late in the first round, and subsequently appeared disoriented in the ring and in his corner. In the second round, he continued to rush forward and was dropped twice by Paul, with the second causing Robinson to fall face first to the canvas, unconscious. Paul was declared the winner by KO at 1:24 of the second round. In his post-fight interviews, he proceeded to call out Mixed Martial Arts fighters Conor McGregor and Dillon Danis.[28]

Opening the Main Card, Badou Jack faced undefeated fighter Blake McKernan. Jack controlled the fight, winning 80–72 on all three judges' scorecards. McKernan received praise for his toughness and ability to withstand Jack's punishment.[29]

Fight card


Weight Class vs. Method Round Time Notes
Heavyweight Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr. SD 8/8 Note 1
Cruiserweight Jake Paul def. Nate Robinson KO 2/6 1:24 Note 2
Light heavyweight Badou Jack def. Blake McKernan UD 8/8
Undercard
Lightweight Jamaine Ortiz def. Sulaiman Segawa TKO 7 Note 3
Featherweight Edward Vasquez def. Irvin Gonzalez Jr. SD 8/8 Note 4

[30]

^Note 1 Exhibition fight
^Note 2 Robinson's professional debut
^Note 3 For WBC-USNBC Silver lightweight title
^Note 4 For WBC-USNBC featherweight title

Reception


The 3-hour Tyson-Jones event took place with no audience and was universally well received by the press, with the New York Times declaring that, “these fights actually look great,” and commenting on the “surprisingly good production value.”[31] CBS Sports wrote that, “the show itself, from start to finish, was surprisingly entertaining throughout.”[32] The fight was noted on social media for the commentary provided by rapper Snoop Dogg, who some pundits described as having "won" the night through his colorful commentary and reactions.[33] At one point Snoop described Tyson and Jones as "like two of my uncles fighting at the barbecue"; he also began singing a hymn during the undercard fight between Jake Paul and Nate Robinson, when an overwhelmed Robinson began stumbling in the ring.[33]

The fight was also very successful on pay-per-view (PPV), surpassing expectations. The event garnered over 1.6 million buys to become the biggest Boxing pay-per-view event of 2020 and raking in over $80 million in pay-per-view revenue alone.[34][35][36]

Notes


  1. Not to be confused with the South African former world heavyweight champion Corrie Sanders.

References


  1. Mike Tyson: 220 LB (www.repubblica.it - YouTube)
  2. Brookhouse, Brent (November 29, 2020). "Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr. fight results, highlights: Legends fight to a draw in exhibition match". CBS Sports. Retrieved December 20, 2020.
  3. Rafael, Dan (September 28, 2006). "Cash-strapped Tyson announces exhibition tour". ESPN. Archived from the original on June 25, 2020. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  4. Rozenberg, Sammy (October 21, 2006). "Tyson Happy With Exhibition, Fans Are Not". BoxingScene.com. Archived from the original on December 7, 2020. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  5. Akopyan, Manouk (May 8, 2020). "Evander Holyfield Wants To Fight Mike Tyson In Exhibition For Charity". BoxingScene.com. Archived from the original on December 7, 2020. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
  6. Dawson, Alan (April 25, 2020). "Mike Tyson wants to return to the ring and 'box some exhibitions'". Insider. Archived from the original on December 7, 2020. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
  7. Allen, Kim (May 12, 2020). "Mike Tyson prepares for potential return to boxing ring, releasing a training video that says 'I'm Back'". CNN. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
  8. "Who is Mike Tyson's trainer Rafael Cordeiro?". Sporting Excitement.
  9. Cruz, Guilherme (November 25, 2020). "Coach says Mike Tyson aiming to knock out Roy Jones Jr. despite rules: 'No one spars a full month for an exhibition'". MMA Fighting.
  10. Kerai, Husmukh (February 9, 2018). "Roy Jones Jr ends career with win over Scott Sigmon; but issues challenge for 'only other fight' he wants". Sky Sports. Archived from the original on April 11, 2019. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  11. "Mike Tyson Has Offer of $1 Million For Exhibition Against Gallen, Williams or Hall". BoxingScene.com. May 6, 2020. Archived from the original on December 7, 2020. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  12. "Mike Tyson Views SBW Fight as "Insult To Boxing" - Wants Real Boxer". BoxingScene.com. May 10, 2020. Archived from the original on December 7, 2020. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
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  14. "Mike Tyson Offered $1.1 Million For Peter McNeeley Rematch". BoxingScene.com. May 29, 2020. Archived from the original on December 7, 2020. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
  15. Akopyan, Manouk (May 8, 2020). "Evander Holyfield Wants To Fight Mike Tyson In Exhibition For Charity". Boxing Scene. Retrieved December 20, 2020.
  16. "Mike Tyson, the Legends Only League and old stars in a world of new content". Sports Pro Media. August 6, 2020. Retrieved December 7, 2020.
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  26. https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2920117-mike-tyson-vs-roy-jones-jr-judges-scorecards-fight-stats-and-reaction
  27. https://wwos.nine.com.au/news/boxing-live-mike-tyson-vs-roy-jones-jnr-results-news/fd600b40-8df7-481b-b81f-15aa50ba82fd
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