Roy Jones Jr. is back in the boxing news. The 51-year-old fighter will be stepping back into the ring Sept. 12 to fight another former heavyweight champion, Mike Tyson, in an eight-round exhibition bout. Jones Jr. came from a boxing family where his father, at one point, was his trainer. The two had a strained relationship that was eventually severed because of a dead dog.
Mike Tyson to fight Roy Jones Jr. on Sept. 12
The anticipation is finally over. After months of speculation, Mike Tyson is getting back into the boxing ring. Two former heavyweight champions, Tyson and Roy Jones Jr., are coming out of retirement to show the world that two guys older than 50 can still bring it.
Both boxers were dominant in their prime. Jones Jr. won his first 34 professional fights. Seventeen of those wins came via knockout. Tyson won his first 37 fights as a pro, 19 by knockout. Jones won titles in four different weight classes, while Tyson was the youngest boxer to ever be crowned heavyweight champion at 20.
The event will take place Sept. 12 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. Tyson told ESPN that age is just a number. “Just because we are 54, it doesn’t mean that we have to start a new career and our lives are totally over,” he said. “Not when you feel as beautiful as I do, and I’m sure that other people feel the same way.”
Roy Jones Jr.’s strained relationship with his father
Growing up, Roy Jones Jr. was trained by his father. Many of the training sessions were brutal and oftentimes abusive. According to Sports Illustrated, when Jones Jr. was 5, it all began. Jones Sr. would taunt his son, pushing him to the point of abuse.
Jones Jr. would be put in the ring with boys much older and much bigger than he was. There came a point when Jones Jr. couldn’t take the punishment anymore. He said there came a time when he just didn’t care. Maybe Roy Jones Sr. thought he was doing the right thing by making his son tougher, but he was making him not want to live.
“I was in pain all day, every day, I was so scared of my father,” Jones Jr. said. “He’d pull up in his truck and start lookin’ for something I’d done wrong. There was no escape, no excuse, no way out of nothin’. Every day it was the same: school, homework, farmwork, trainin’. Gettin’ hurt or dyin’ might’ve been better than the life I was livin’. So I turned into a daredevil. I’d do anything. Didn’t make much difference. Used to think about killin’ myself anyway.”
A dead dog was the final straw
In a Los Angeles Times article in 1994, Jones was asked about the absence of his father. He hadn’t been seen in his corner since 1992. “I don’t have time to go through that right now,” Jones said. “Another time. What really happened? We fell out.”
Although the relationship with his father wasn’t a strong one, Jones Jr. said there was one particular incident that was the final straw. In an interview on Highly Questionable, he explained the situation. “You grow up and if a person can’t grow with you, you grow away from them,” he said. “I had a dog that I bought from a friend to breed. A friend of mine let the dog loose and the dog bit my sister.
“She was OK. It didn’t hurt her really bad. My father comes to my house — I wasn’t there — and he just killed the dog. That did it for me. I’m out, because the next time you gonna kill something, you’re gonna die with it. That was it for me.”