Tyson, Jones Jr exhibition-Is this what boxing needs, wants or cares for?
Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr are scheduled to come head to head in an exhibition bout in September. Many are questioning its relevance.
When two all time greats face each other in the ring, it is often met with a great deal of excitement. For the hardcore fight fans it can settle age old disputes, for the casual, it’s a chance to see two names they know battle it out. When the fighters are both closer to drawing on a pension than their prime ring age, both fan types must ask the question why?
Both ‘Iron’ Mike and Jones Jr enjoyed unprecedented levels of success. Claiming world titles and the riches that come with it meant that this fight was never about money. They both picked up enough paychecks to last several lifetimes. Despite blowing large chunks on extravagance, neither are pleading poverty.
Many of us have seen the quick cut videos of Tyson sparring and jumped to the conclusion that he is just as good as the Iron Mike of yesteryear. Many of us have seen Jones Jr training Chris Eubank Jr and realised the ring rust isn’t too bad. These days though it is easy to make a promo video and claim it to show something in a more favourable light.
Tyson is now 54, Jones Jr, 51. The likelihood of them keeping pace with any top 10 ranked heavyweight is laughable. Whilst both were fearsome in their day, boxing has evolved and the stamina levels many fighters possess eclipse those shown by these two adversaries both now and in their prime.
Large gloves, headgear and less rounds-An event with a difference
When two fighters of this age come to blows, safety is paramount. Despite both being signed as fit to fight, a few alterations have been made to ensure this exxhibition is both entertaining and safe. Capped at 8 rounds and with 12oz gloves, the wellbeing of the pair has been kept high up the list of priorities. One omission is the headgear. In such fights it is commonplace for both competitiors to don the protective equipment. It seems with the high profile of this event, organisers have let the $ rule and believe that it looses a selling point if both fighters wore one.
To stop things escalating into any form of unsafe carnage it has also been claimed that if either fighter is cut, the duel is finished. With no ringside judges either it appears that KO or cut is the only way to victory. It almost seems like a contradiction, the safety of both has been deemed essential yet for the entertainment of the pay per view fans, a major safety feature has been removed. Whether this will proove critical come the conclusion of the fight, only time will tell.
Mass market appeal-Tyson v Jones maybe isn’t the fight fans hoped for
The Tyson Jones Jr exhibition is a fight that certainly keeps the interest in boxing high. With Covid-19 meaning many of the key fight nights are now on hold until 2021 at the earliest. The professional events that are currently happening behind closed doors don’t lure the casual fan into the living room and promoters and networks are aware of this.
Everybody knows Mike Tyson and his name headlining an event is enough to have people showing even the vaguest interest, the fact that he steps into the ring with Roy Jones Jr may have had some people asking questions. Two of Iron Mike’s most famous bouts came aginst Evander Holyfield and in the early stages, he was touted as the potential opposition. That is a fight that will have had more mass market appeal as people recall the famous ear biting incident among other things.
Jones isn’t a fighter to be doubted though. Take a quick look at his credentials.
Roy Jones Jr Stats
- 75 fights.
- 66 wins.
- 47 ko’s.
- 9 losses.
- World titles at middlewieght, super middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight.
- Most recently World Champ in 2003.
This could be a tricky fight for Iron Mike despite his impressive social media videos. The so called ‘Baddest Man on the planet’ will need to keep his ringcraft to its best.
Are exhibition fights like Tyson v Jones Jr worth it?
When Mike Tyson and Roy Jones step into the ring, it won’t be to claim a belt. It won’t be to climb up the rankings. It won’t be to relaunch a career.
So what is it for? Rumours abound that money will be heading the way of charity. Others say it is just for fun. Exhibition fights tend to be an event, a one off. A bit of fun for those competing and those observing. Both competitors are naturally fighting men and the passion still burns deep. I for one just hope that whatver the result, neither sees a reason to get back in the ring again.
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