USA | Nov 28, 2020

Mike Tyson vs Roy Jones Jr: Why the warrior spirit never dies

/ Our Today

Reading Time: 4 minutes
Image: Instagram @MikeTyson

The highly anticipated boxing heavyweight match up for charity takes place tonight between Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr.

Both men are legends of the ring with Tyson now 54 and Jones Jr. 51. Tyson won the heavyweight championship of the world at just 20 and went on to become the undisputed champion of that weight class between 1987 and 1990. He has a 50-6 career with 44 wins by KO. The last time he stepped into the ring professionally was 15 years ago when he was defeated by Kevin McBride in 2005.

Roy Jones Jr, at 51, has enjoyed a stellar career and is considered pound for pound one of the finest boxers of his generation, a champion in four weight divisions with a career of 75 fights with 47 wins by KO. His last professional fight was only two years ago, February 2018, when he defeated Scott Simon in a unanimous decision.

Mike Tyson (Photo: Instagram @MikeTyson)

This is supposed to be an exhibition match for charity with special gloves and rules that should prevent a horrific outcome. Neither man will be paying attention to that and will be going for the win in a game where hurt is the intention.

There are many who say this contest is a farce; two middle-aged men who have had their day now back in the ring – a travesty and an indictment of where the sport is today. What’s next? Bringing up the DNA of Rocky Marciano and having him go up against a version of Muhammed Ali? Sure, it is a big box office spectacle, but is it a real contest?

WWF and cage fighting has now usurped boxing in the main because the sport of the Queensbury Rules has no phenoms or characters with impressive talent who are compelling. To get viewership, promoters have to revert to the great pugilists of the past and create a ‘what  if?’ scenario. Video games coming to life, a Jurassic Park construct that makes boxing appealing again.

Roy Jones Jr (Photo: Instragram @RoyJonesJrOfficial)

Both Tyson and Jones Jr do not see it that way. They are warriors and when they step into a ring, they bring that spirit with them. They have both prepared for this fight, putting their aging bodies through rigorous training.

Tyson describes how he transformed himself back into an athlete.

“It’s a 100 per cent process. My wife said do the treadmill for 15 minutes a day. That 15 minutes turned into two hours a day. From there I also began riding the bike for an hour and started running, hitting the mits and went vegan.

“I’ll never call another fighter a bum again because the process of getting into shape to fight somebody is psychologically overwhelming.”

Jones Jr said of getting back into shape: “It’s the craziest thing you can imagine brother. Your body has a hard time holding up to all the strenuous work, but you have to do what you have to do. It means more ice baths and hot and cold treatments. You have to make it happen.”

Roy Jones Jr (Photo: Instagram @RoyJonesJrOfficial)

Both men have prepared for this fight with discipline and training. Although their muscle tone is not as defined as in their prime, they have lost significant weight with Tyson coming in at 220 lbs and Jones Jr 210 lbs. This fight is not a comic event for them – it is the real deal with both men looking for a win and keen to show why they ruled the world of their profession.

The interest and money generated from this fight will have many long-retired fighters thinking they can still make bank with their fists in their 40s, 50s and perhaps 60s. Oscar De La Hoya, Manny Pacquiao, Sugar Ray Leonard, Tommy Hearns, James ‘Buster’ Douglas, Evander Holyfield, Roberto Duran, Oscar De La Hoya, Bernard Hopkins, Hector Camacho, Nigel Benn, Chris Eubanks,, Julio Cesar Chavez may all lace up again for a payday as they head into the evening of their years.

What tonight heralds is another way to make boxing top draw. This was the idea behind the movie Rocky Balboa (2006). This time, Rocky beats the reigning heavyweight champion, Mason Dixon, in a computer simulation. With his ego getting the better of him, Mason challenges Rocky, now 60, to a 10-round exhibition fight which Rocky narrowly loses on a points decision.

The movie not only brought back the Rocky franchise but allowed us to explore the possibilities of where boxing could go, how to enhance its appeal. What if?

Mike Tyson (Photo: Instagram @MikeTyson)

There is a scene in Rocky which Tyson, Roy Jones Jr, and all warriors know to be true. It is why both men are getting in the ring tonight. It is why some of us keep pushing, keep going, defying time, putting ourselves through arduous labours, keep pushing the sun back in the sky to give us one more day of summer.

Rocky tells his son: “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, nobody is going to hit as hard as life.

“But it ain’t about how hard you hit – it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.”


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