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USA | Nov 29, 2020

Tyson vs Jones Jr – Phew! No one got hurt

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Serving a dose of badly needed nostalgia in a dismal 2020, the exhibition fight between Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Junior was a huge success—and a primer for more rematch fights to come. (Photo: Bleacher Report)

The big exhibition match between boxing legends Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr ended in a draw with both men complimenting each other and readily accepting the decision.

It would be fair to say though that Tyson won this easily but in the spirit of what the aim was here, better not to hang laurels on just one man, particularly if the other wasn’t lying prostrate on the canvas. 

There was a lot of anticipation around this fight and people were keen to see how a 54-year old Tyson would perform against a 51-year old Roy Jones Jr.

It could hardly be expected that both former champions would display the talent and skills of their prime but they did give glimpses of yesterday and put on a good show in an abbreviated two minute, eight-round bout.

Mike Tyson (right) and Roy Jones Junior in the height of their boxing careers.

Watching the fight, it is doubtful whether they could have gone much more beyond that. Their days of ten, twelve, fifteen round contests are well and truly behind them.

Most boxing fans were looking for Tyson’s explosive power, that knockout punch that brought him so much glory over thirty years ago. He looked more patient but always pressing forward confidently.

Jones sought to avoid his power, tying up Tyson and playing for time. Every now and then he would slip in a jab but kept his distance all night. He tired early and at one stage it didn’t seem he would come out of his corner but he pressed on and for the most part, evaded Tyson’s punches.

For two men in their fifties, they looked in good shape and remembered how to box. There are those who are calling for them to be granted licences to take on today’s professional boxers. Tyson dismissed this, making it clear that he would continue doing “Legends” exhibitions for charities and that his focus now was helping people.

This was a more magnanimous, gracious Tyson – that beast who wanted to eat the hearts of his opponents’ children gone.

Roy Jones Jr. did not rule out a rematch and other fights of this nature but said he would take a break and consult with his team and family before making a decision.

Ending in a draw, the Tyson/Jones Jnr bout was entertaining for many reasons—particularly as they both refused to lose! (Photo: MMAFighting.com)

No one got hurt and there was no cause for alarm, with both men going the distance and putting on a good show. They can still box albeit without the profound genius of their prime.

If the likes of McEnroe, Borg, Connors and Becker can roll back the years and be box office draws on the seniors’ tour why not the legends of the ring in an appropriate format of the rules?

What Tyson and Jones Jr did last night was open the door to a new lucrative iteration of boxing. It was a US$1 million payday for Jones Jr and considerably more for Tyson – not bad for two men in their sixth decade. Promoters will be rubbing their hands and asking, who’s next?

Already, former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis, now 55, says he wants to take on Riddick Bowe. There’s an old score to settle with that one!
One thing is for sure, we will be seeing many more boxing comebacks very soon.

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