In his first bout in more than 15 years, Mike Tyson battled to a draw with Roy Jones Jr. in an eight-round exhibition bout between former world champions on Saturday night in Los Angeles. Tyson was on the offensive for most of the bout, which used two-minute rounds instead of the traditional three. He landed big blows in the second and fifth rounds, but Jones protected himself by getting in close and clinching, often forcing the referee to separate the fighters. “I’m good with a draw because I entertained the crowd,” Tyson said afterward. One of the scariest punchers in boxing history, the 54-year-old Tyson was back in the ring for the first time since losing to Kevin McBride in June 2005 in his 21st year as a pro. He dropped 100 pounds to get down to 220 for Saturday’s fight. Jones, a 51-year-old former four-division champion, hadn’t fought in nearly three years when he beat Scott Sigmon for his fourth straight win. In the penultimate fight of the night, YouTube star Jake Paul knocked out former NBA player Nate Robinson in the second round. It was Paul’s second career bout and Robinson’s first.
Did the fight live up to the hype?
Lance Pugmire, senior boxing writer: It was an impossible ask to expect the 54-year-old Tyson and 51-year-old Jones to magically revert to their primes. But for those of us familiar with the reality of a body’s behavior post-50, it was an occasional trip back in time to see the fierceness in Tyson’s eyes, the power of his rib-damaging body shots and Jones’ infrequent evasiveness. They fulfilled their own expectations, and that has to be good enough.
How Tyson looked at age 54
Pugmire: For a man who’s shed 100 pounds in the last year, a proud former champion who has sobbed in an interview about what he’d become without the sport, he turned in a strongly conditioned showing and flashed visions of his former famed power in striking Jones. If there were official judges, he would have won the fight. “No matter where he hits you … everything hurts,” Jones said.
Where does Tyson go from here?
Pugmire: He’s all about his new enterprise, the Legends Only League, and while he goaded Jones to return following the distaste of the draw, Tyson’s nemesis, Evander Holyfield, has sought out a trilogy bout and other retirees will raise their hands to show there’s something left in the old tanks. Once they see the pay-per-view numbers from a card that was the talk of social media, expect a full-fledged Tyson rebirth.
"Why nobody care about my ass? I haven't fought for 15 years. He stopped fighting three years ago."
Mike Tyson after his fight with Roy Jones Jr. ended in a draw 😂
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 29, 2020