Mike Tyson (54) vs. Roy Jones Jr. (51): Will it be a sham between two fifties with a glorious past on Sunday morning in Los Angeles, or will things really go hard?
“Nobody should be afraid that it will make me rich. Or that I do it for the money – I don’t get anything for it. I’m lucky that my money has run out because no one can praise me now. No more vultures are circling around me. There is nothing to collect,” signed: Mike Tyson. He made a fortune of more than 300 million dollars in his heyday at the age of 54, long happy that he was released from his debts.
Tyson says he will donate his scholarship to charities, and that’s a big deal: like Roy Jones Jr. (51), be sure of at least $10 million in prize money. Depending on the number of pay-per-views, this can go up to 20 million.
Social media app Triller, which aims to promote its brand awareness in the States, bought the rights for $50 million and is broadcasting the demonstration fight in co-production with the veteran Fite TV.
The question is whether the exhibition match will be worth the money. The event at the Staples Center in LA, originally scheduled for September 12, has been delayed by two months to maximize profits and has been hyped for weeks.
Tyson regularly posts videos on social media to show off his imposing physique – that goes very well with his 13.5 million followers – and Roy Jones Jr. started training like a madman: “If you take up the gloves against the most dangerous person in your life, with the hardest fists in the world… If you don’t train intensively then you will be crazy!”
Larger (and softer) gloves
The California State Athletic Commission agreed to the organization, but director Andy Foster pointed out that it was a demonstration: Tyson and Jones should not knock each other out, they hit with larger (and softer) gloves than normal and at an injury can ref Corona – interesting family name – stop the fight. There are no ring judges, and no official winner will be announced after eight rounds of two minutes.
“It makes no difference to Tyson or Jones whether or not they win with ko,” says former champion Freddy De Kerpel. “It is only a one-off challenge. I’m sure they don’t take it as a joke – they don’t want to go off. Tyson and Jones are two big names in boxing who disappeared past the small gate years ago. How Tyson fared against Kevin McBride in 2005… you can’t fall much deeper. No one had heard of McBride beforehand, we didn’t hear from him afterward either. Now Tyson and Jones are physically sharp again – chapeau for the efforts they put in – but I don’t see them taking any real risks. They are not idiots.”
The two boxers made it seem they mean business. Tyson has already warned that he will never box with the brakes on – just ask his sparring partner Corey Sanders who saw all sides of the ring during an exhibition match in 2006, even with a head protection on. Jones Jr: “Anyone who thinks they will be friendly against Mike will already fall to the ground in the first round. If you don’t understand that, then something is wrong with you.”
The youngest ever heavyweight world champion at age 20 in 1986, Tyson was always a strong puncher. Jones Jr., once a world champion in four different weight divisions, is the technically better boxer.
Not everyone is convinced that Tyson and Jones Jr are doing the right thing – like George Foreman, former world heavyweight champion: “Temporary madness if you ask me. It reminds me of a guy who wants to go to sea. It seems like a nice idea, soothing – he can’t wait to get started. And then the time has finally come. Big waves are coming, the sea is rough, it’s raining, and the wind is blowing, and that guy is wondering, “Dear God, why did I start this?” And then he realizes that he should have stayed at the quay, where it was safe and warmer.”