The excitement around the upcoming exhibition bout between Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. continues to grow. Tyson, 54, has gone out of his way to show off his brutal sparring routines. Jones, 51, has responded to the clear threat with glee. Neither fighter is interested in framing the events as a friendly exhibition.
But that’s all easy to write off as simple fight promotion. Will they really go all in when they meet on November 28th? With the pandemic-delayed fight now months deep into a lengthy promotional cycle, can the bout possibly live up to the hype? Jones, in no uncertain terms, thinks this match will be the real deal.
The normal path for an exhibition boxing match
Boxing exhibitions are, by definition, not the same as a real career fight. They won’t appear on a fighter’s record. They won’t have the same stringent weight class requirements. The proceeds are often for charity, rather than dangling massive purses to encourage fighters to bring their best.
That isn’t to say that exhibitions aren’t worth the time of day. Recently, retired Mexican boxing legends Julio Cesar Chavez, 58, and Jorge Arce, 41, put on a masterful performance according to Dazn.
While no winner was declared, the fight was an exciting display of two sharp boxing minds still capable of putting on a show well after their heyday.
Why Roy Jones Jr. thinks his Mike Tyson bout will be more than a simple exhibition
Jones, for his part, intends to put on a similar show against one-time knockout king Tyson. He told Joe Rogan as much on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. While Jones may have some gripes with the ever-changing format of the bout, he’s explicit about his intent in the ring regardless.
“I got more excited because it’s Mike Tyson,” Jones told Rogan.
“You never know what you’re going to get in [the ring]. You never know if you have to protect your ears, chin jaw. Whatever you do, you’ve got to get prepared for whatever version of Mike Tyson shows up.”
He points out that Tyson knocked out a fighter at an exhibition previously. To Jones, there’s no way to approach this fight except to take it extremely seriously.
All that said, words are, well, words. That goes double for boxing promotion, with its long tradition of P.T. Barnum-esque hucksterism. One sign that Jones isn’t talking just to talk is that the fight will be officially scored. TMZ reports that the bout will be officially scored. The two legendary brawlers will compete for an official belt.
Will Roy Jones Jr. and Mike Tyson both go all in?
Jones intends to take the fight with Tyson with great care, fully prepared to defend himself from hard hits and attempt to tire Tyson out. Tyson’s camp — who have control over the format of the fight — seem to be shrewdly aware of this. Sport Bible reports that they’ve continued to shave minutes off the format of the fight, undermining Jones’ go-to plan.
That’s obviously a problem for Jones, and perhaps a disappointment for boxing fans looking for a Chavez Sr. vs. Acre display. But it also implies that Tyson’s team is fully aware of how their man intends to enter the ring. Tyson, even at his advanced age, will probably attempt to do “Tyson things,” and go with heavy damage as early as possible.
That leaves little room for Jones vs. Tyson ending up as a carnival sideshow in the vein of Conor McGregor’s hyped-up run-in with Floyd Mayweather. Sure, the fight is somewhat uneven, given that Jones was always one of the smaller fighters to emerge as heavyweight champion.
But that very mismatch is what makes speculating on the outcome exciting. Will Tyson get the big connects he needs? Or will Jones’ developed footwork shut that down?