In a would-be clash of the titans if it were a decade ago, Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. turned back the hands of time to give nostalgic fans a reality to a long-time dream.
Tyson and Jones Jr. fought to a draw following their eight-round exhibition (with two-minute rounds) Saturday, Nov. 28 from the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The California State Athletics Commission sanctioned the bout as a “hard sparring exhibition.”
Though discussed previously, both fighters did not wear headgear.
This matchup was supposed to take place nearly 20 years ago when both fighters were in the midst of their career, albeit the latter stages of Tyson’s.
The 54-year old Tyson last fought in 2005 when he quit on the stool, saying he lost his love for the sport of boxing.
Since then, he has claimed “the Gods of war have summoned” him back to the ring.
He admitted before the fight he was scared citing the 15 year layoff but followed it with “I do whatever scares me.”
On the other hand, a 51-year old Jones Jr. admitted to entering the ring looking to control what he could control.
He last fought in 2018, where he beat Scott Sigmon for the vacant WBU (German) Cruiserweight title.
Both fighters had combined professional records of 116-15 with 91 knockouts.
It was no shock to see Tyson enter the fight “pitching punches with bad intentions” as he mentioned prior to the bout.
While Tyson was throwing, Jones Jr. appeared to be looking to avoid the blitz through the early rounds and turn on the speed late in the fight.
This resulted in multiple clinch situations that forced referee Ray Corona to step in.
At one point in the second round, Corona urged Jones Jr. to stop initiating the clinch to which he responded, “I have to.”
While the energy seemed light in the building, the same course of action continued throughout the bout with few moments of excitement.
Tyson was successful depositing shots to the body of Jones Jr..
He even landed a looping left hook in the fifth round where he began to pick off Jones Jr..
Rounds six, seven and eight seemed to go Jones Jr.’s way as he allowed his speed and footwork to dictate the finish.
Former WBC champions Chad Dawson, Vinny Paz and Christy Martin served as judges for the fight that ended in a draw despite much of the social media conversation following declaring Tyson the winner.
Martin scored the fight 79-73 Tyson, Paz scored it 80-76 for Jones Jr. while Dawson had it deadlocked at 76-76.
Some on social media were calling the outcome a “scam.”
Tyson admitted to being “cool” with the outcome because the crowd was “satisfied.”
While arguing against the draw at first, Jones Jr. came around to say he was “okay” with the decision but they may have to do it again.
When a possible rematch was discussed Tyson jumped at the opportunity while Jones Jr. cited needing to speak with his family before making a decision.
In addition, Tyson argued that this fight and potential future fights are about more than titles and legacies.
In his words, the fighters are now “humanitarians” and these fights are for the people and charity.
Both fighters were awarded one million dollars for their participation in the fight.
Tyson said he would donate his proceeds to charity.
The Legends Only League event taking place on Triller broke the record for pre-fight pay-per-view sales.
Mauro Ranallo and Hall-of-Famer Sugar Ray Leonard served as commentators for the event in addition to UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya and hip-hop legend Snoop Dogg.
Snoop also served as a performer during the pay-per-view in addition to Wiz Khalifa, YG, Saint Jhn, etc.
Internet sensation Jake Paul knocked out former-NBA player Nate Robinson in the second round of their contest.
Former world champion Badou Jack beat Blake McKernen via unanimous decision after eight rounds of action.