The upcoming exhibition bout between Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr won’t be a friendly affair, according to former Jones opponent Enzo Maccarinelli.
Tyson and Jones Jr are set to compete in an eight-round bout with 12-ounce gloves and no headgear in Los Angeles on September 12.
Maccarinelli, who brutally knocked out Jones Jr in the fourth round of their cruiserweight bout in Russia in December 2015, says the competitive nature of both men will ensure a willing scrap.
“I’m telling you now, it won’t be friendly,” Maccarinelli said to Sky Sports. “I see this turning into a bit more than an exhibition! It will be competitive.
“No way they are training so hard for a ‘friendly’ fight.
“They are both big punchers, they can both crack, how do they not go for a KO? You could pull back 50 per cent of your punch – which is not going to happen.
“When they are in the ring, they will want to prove a point.
“When they face each other, no one will want to walk out as the loser. They want to prove a point to each other and to themselves.”
Former undisputed heavyweight champion Tyson has been posting short clips of himself looking explosive hitting the pads on social media ahead of his planned comeback.
“He still has power and explosiveness and it wouldn’t surprise me if he landed on the chin,” Maccarinelli said. “But remember Jones Jr has been the active one.”
Jones Jr has boxed 23 times since Tyson’s retirement in 2005.
“Tyson looks as good as ever, hitting the bag for 30 or 40 seconds. What’s he like sparring? What’s he like taking a shot himself?” Maccarinelli continued.
“Tyson looks ferocious. But 15 years older [than when] we saw him slumped down against Kevin McBride.
“His head looks in a better mind-frame now than it was then.”
Maccarinelli added he doesn’t begrudge the pair for wanting to fight again: “They are in their 50s. It’s hard for a fighter who still wants to do it. It’s hard to explain the yearning and the need to step back in there, especially when you were at the level of Roy and Tyson.
“People have no idea of the mental situations they are in. How much they need it.
“Do I want to see it? No. But do I begrudge them? No.
“If they’re going to do it, I’d rather it was against each other rather than someone 30-35 years old.
“I’m all for them fighting each other, as long as they pass full medicals. It has to be as safe as you can get it.
“The need to compete again is something I can’t explain. I would love to step back into the limelight myself. It is hard to explain.
“These fighters know they aren’t what they were. But it’s something they need to do, for themselves.
“As long as it’s against someone of a similar age, with all medicals done, is the only way.”