Roy Jones Jr. was one of the best pound-for-pound boxers across several divisions. Mike Tyson is the heavyweight knockout king who left an indelible mark on both his sport and pop culture. Somehow, in 2020, these two aging legends will meet in the ring.
It’s been a wild year in many ways. But this dream bout still sticks out as a seemingly impossible — and potentially dangerous — set of circumstances. It likely took a massive payday to lure the two fighters in. This begs the question: which of these boxing legends has a higher net worth?
How does Mike Tyson’s boxing match up with Roy Jones Jr.’s?
Tyson and Jones cut somewhat different profiles in boxing. According to ESPN, Tyson went 50-6, with a shocking 44 knockouts to his name. 22 of these went down in the first round, the second-most by any boxer of all time. Among his handful of losses, only his fight against James “Buster” Douglas was a truly shocking defeat. With 42-1 odds in Tyson’s favor, no one expected the aging boxer to go down quite so brutally.
Jones’ career stretched out a bit longer, with BoxRec reporting his record as 66-9, with 47 knockouts. He worked across five weight classes, including encroaching on Tyson’s territory, heavyweight. Forbes reports a nasty 2015 bout against Enzo Maccarinelli as his worst moment. The caveat here is that Jones was well past his prime, taking overseas fights that often weren’t televised in the United States.
The two ended their careers in strikingly different ways. Tyson hit his wall against Kevin McBride. In this bout, via Bleacher Report, Tyson held his own on the scorecard but found himself bullied into the ropes, dazed. He refused to re-enter the ring and the fight was called.
Jones had a better farewell fight. He went the distance against Scott Sigmon, holding his chin up high after 10 captivating rounds. While his late period losses had fans begging him to retire, he managed to go out on his own terms.
How Tyson and Jones approached their retirements
Jones, 51, isn’t much younger than 54-year-old Tyson. His ability to switch between weight classes helped his longevity, allowing him to retire in 2017. Tyson, comparatively, was unable to handle further heavyweight bouts after 2005. The differences in their careers and personal lives led to vastly different approaches to retirement.
Tyson famously lost his millions during the waning years of his career. A series of divorces, expensive parties, and lawsuits related to his wild lifestyle sent him to bankruptcy. Showbiz CheatSheet reports that Tyson took bankruptcy as a sign to change his approach to life. He’s far more amiable on a personal level, spends more frugally, and seeks out fulfilling jobs like appearing in the Hangover series of films.
Jones has only been retired for a few years, and spent that time staying in shape for exhibition opportunities. MMA Junkie reports that he hoped to fight retired MMA fighter Anderson Silva in a boxing match. Even before retirement, he toyed with the idea as a way to keep fighting — before the lucrative Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather was even considered.
Who is worth more: Tyson or Jones?
Tyson had a bigger pop culture impact as a fighter, and in retirement. Jones has more insider respect, as one of the most accomplished boxers of all time in multiple weight divisions. There’s one category where it isn’t even a question who came out ahead, though: net worth.
According to International Business Times, Jones is currently worth $45 million. Much of his earnings came directly from boxing purses, and promotional or advisory work related to boxing. He even once turned down a potential $42 million purse, thinking he deserved a better offer.
That massive payday was a failed attempt to match Jones with none other than Tyson. The extra cash might’ve helped Tyson deal with the bankruptcy situation he was dealing with at the time, which left him with next to nothing. He rebuilt his career via acting, special appearances, and motivational speaking, according to Celebrity Net Worth. He’s worth just $3 million, a far cry from Jones, but he claims that his quieter lifestyle is far more fulfilling than his wealthier days.