On September 12th former undisputed heavyweight champion Mike Tyson and four division champion Roy Jones Jr will trade leather against one another in what is proving to be a highly publicised exhibition fight between the two marvels. The contest will be taking place at the Dignity Health Sports Park in California. YouTube sensation Jake Paul has been confirmed to be on the undercard.
Although I have written before that it is important to keep expectations in check, a Tyson v Jones fight has many ingredients to get the public excited. We have seen before when former boxing greats have returned to the ring to participate in genuine professional bouts. But it has rarely gone right for them due to various reasons including advancing age, loss of attributes etc.
Mike is now 54 years old. Jones is 51. And for either of them to think they should come back as a professional boxer once again is a crazy thought. But that is reportedly not going to happen. Head guards are expected to be worn by both combatants and the action is scheduled for 8 rounds. A lot different to the depressing sights we have seen before when the likes of Joe Louis and Muhammad Ali continued on boxing professionally when they should have hung their gloves up long before they were forced to.
Tyson has been looking sharp in training footage that has supposedly been “leaked” on the Internet but it is important to remember that things are a lot different when you have somebody actually punching you back. Nevertheless, the tone and mood of the build up has been rather light, reminding us that the two fighters are planning to just have some fun. And that is a prime example of how a comeback (of sorts) should be.
Money, or a lack of it, has been the main factor as to why a considerable number of former fighters lace up the gloves again and any normal human being would sympathise with them in regards to their dire situations. But it is hard to believe that there were no other options in those cases. There is also the fact that these gladiators simply love to fight and generally find it hard to walk away.
That may also be the case for Jones and Tyson.
Nobody wanted to continue to see Roy getting knocked out by opponents who would have been well below his league in his prime like he was for many years since 2004 when Antonio Tarver first stopped him in 2 rounds in a rematch. And ‘Iron Mike’ clearly had not been himself since he took his second loss to Evander Holyfield in 1997.
After what we have all had to endure while combating the Covid-19 virus it is nice to have something to look forward to on September 12th. Recent reports have claimed that American fight fans may have to shell out nearly $50 to see it but there have been times in the past when they have had to pay a lot more for major events. A fixed price point is yet to be announced for the British followers of the sport, if it will be at all.
It is good to see boxing getting something right for once after all of the incredible political decisions that were made by the various championship organisations during the past couple of years. I will not lie when I admit that all the bullshit has dampened my enthusiasm to keep up with the sport. Everything changes and nothing stays the same. But sometimes the changes that occur are not for the better.
Let’s savour September 12th as much as we can.