Mike Tyson vs Roy Jones: A Golden Age Throwdown

Notorious brawlers Mike Tyson and Roy Jones will both be making their in-ring returns when they face off on September 12, 2020. The exhibition fight is scheduled for eight rounds and will take place at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. 

Mike Tyson has been training tirelessly for a long-awaited return to the ring, and his opponent has been a huge topic of speculation. “The Baddest Man of the Planet” has not let COVID-19 stop him from making a comeback, and he has been extremely vocal about it ever since making his initial announcement in May.


It was previously speculated that the iconic Evander Holyfield was going to be the one to take on Tyson in his return, but that bout was always a longshot due to scheduling and contract disputes. Holyfield, who is disappointed that he will not be the one to face Iron Mike in his comeback bout, will reportedly continue to train for an eventual return to action.

While the return of Mike Tyson may catch all of the headlines, his opponent Roy Jones is a former boxing champion in his own right. The 51-year-old shocked the world when he accepted the contract to fight Iron Mike, as it was previously unknown if he would be willing to make a comeback after retiring only two years ago. 


One thing that the two icons have in common is that both are former world champions. Mike Tyson was the undisputed Heavyweight Champion for a few years while Roy Jones is a former Light Heavyweight Champion. 


Nevertheless, even Jones' accomplishments do not stack up to those of Mike Tyson, who is widely considered to be one of the greatest competitors in fighting history. Iron Mike was the first heavyweight world champion to simultaneously hold the WBA, WBC, and IBF titles. Furthermore, Mike Tyson is also the youngest heavyweight champion in history, as he was just 20 when he won the belt. 


It is clear that both men are passionate about the sport, and that is surely a huge reason that they have decided to make a comeback. Nevertheless, one would expect each fighter to have to shake off a considerable amount of rust after long absences from the ring. 


Jones, who retired in 2018, might have an easier time shaking the rust than Tyson, who has been away from the sport for 15 years. Tyson, who has never been one to lack confidence, believes he is up to the test though. 


“I can do it [return to the ring], and I believe other people believe they can do it too,” Tyson said in an interview with ESPN. “Just because we are 54 doesn’t mean that we have to start a new career and our lives are totally over. Not when you feel as beautiful as I do, and I’m sure that other people feel the same way.” 


Tyson believes his ability to play defense and avoid punches was critical in his desire and ability to make a comeback to the ring. 


“I never took that many punches,” Tyson said. “After the last fight I had, I left and I lived my life, and I’ve been through some experiences, and now I’m back here. I feel like I took better care of my body and my state of mind than most of the fighters before me that retired and came back.”


While Tyson’s body may be physically ready to take the bumps and bruises in the ring again, one has to wonder if his brain is equally as prepared. Muhammad Ali, who many view as Tyson’s competition for the greatest fighter of all time, suffered from Parkinson's Disease as a result of his fighting career during his final 32 years of life. 


Jones’s cited Tysons reputation as one of the best fighters of all time as a major reason that he chose to accept the fight. “It would be crazy to receive an offer to enter the ring with him and refuse,” Jones said. “I had no intention of going back and fighting again but, for the sake of Mike Tyson, I agree to make an exception. For me, this is an opportunity that I cannot refuse.”


Both men understand the risk associated with a comeback to the ring at their age, but they both believe they are up for the risk. “We are willing to risk our health like this not only for the charitable part of it but also to give people entertainment when they don’t have any entertainment,” Jones said. 


But it ain't 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. Now, if you know what you're worth, then go out and get what you're worth. Rocky Balboa Rocky - The Rocky 6

It remains to be seen how much each fighter's training regime will reflect their preparation from their career, but one would think that they would have to take a step back, considering their age. 


Interestingly, the two fighters have extremely different skill sets that should make their matchup an exciting one. Tyson had such powerful punches, and he pressured his opponent relentlessly during his career. On the other hand, Jones used his speed and exceptional counter abilities to his advantage during his fighting career.


Endurance is a wildcard in the matchup, as it is a complete unknown how the years away will affect each brawler. This is an even more important factor due to the match being set for eight rounds, an unusually long timeframe to be in the ring. There is a good chance that the fighter who is more prepared to go the distance will come out on top.

Nostalgia will surely be running at an all-time high when Tyson and Jones go toe-to-toe on September 12, 2020. The match will not only raise millions of dollars for charity, it will also decide which legend walks away with an immeasurable amount of pride.

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2020 by "The Fightlete Report"