Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr. is an upcoming exhibition boxing match contested between former undisputed heavyweight world champion, Mike Tyson, and former four-division world champion, Roy Jones Jr. The bout is scheduled to take place on November 28, 2020, at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
The bout will be officially sanctioned by the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC).
It's time for a little bit of nostalgia. After weeks and weeks of posting hype videos of training, Mike Tyson is heading back inside a boxing ring for an exhibition match on PPV. The former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, now 54, will take on former four-division champion Roy Jones Jr. on Nov. 28 from California. Jones Jr. himself turned 51 in January.
A year after retiring, Mike Tyson announced in September 2006 that he would embark on a world tour of exhibition fights, billed as "Mike Tyson's World Tour", in a bid to overcome the debt he was in at the time. The first bout took place on October 20, 2006, at the Chevrolet Centre in Youngstown, Ohio, against former professional boxer and sparring partner, Corey Sanders (not to be confused with the South African former world heavyweight champion Corrie Sanders), in a four-round bout. With 6,000 fans in attendance, the fight failed to live up to expectations, with the crowd often booing with displeasure. This would be the only exhibition fight of the tour to take place.
Tyson, of course, was one of the most feared heavyweights in history, dominating the division over the late 1980s, becoming the youngest heavyweight champion in history with brutal punching power that carried him to a 37-0 record before he fell victim to one of the greatest sports upsets in history when he was knocked out by James "Buster" Douglas in Tokyo in July 1990. Tyson remained a star despite years spent in prison after being convicted of rape. Tyson would go on to infamous lows such as twice biting Evander Holyfield in their June 1997 rematch and quitting against Kevin McBride during his final pro bout. He has, in recent years, rehabilitated his image as a kinder, gentler version of himself, appearing in films, hosting a podcast and becoming an outspoken advocate for marijuana.
Tyson first mentioned the idea of returning to exhibition fights in an April 2020 YouTube interview with rapper T.I., saying, "I want to go to the gym and get in shape to be able to box three or four-round exhibitions for some charities and stuff".
He further teased a potential return to the ring in early May 2020, posting two short videos online of himself training via his Instagram account, declaring at the end of the video, "I'm back". He later explained in a Facebook livestream, "Anything's possible. I feel unstoppable now. The gods of war have reawakened me, ignited my ego and want me to go to war again. I feel like I'm [young] again."
Roy Jones' last bout of his 29 year career took place on February 8, 2018, defeating Scott Sigmon via unanimous decision at the Bay Center In Pensacola, Florida. Jones announced his retirement after the bout, but left the door open for a return against UFC fighter Anderson Silva, saying, "Dana, I know you're listening. I know Anderson's suspended. But that's the only other fight Roy Jones will return to the ring for. Other than that, chapter's closed.
Jones was named the best boxer of the 1990s by Ring Magazine. At his best, Jones displayed a dazzling combination of speed, power and defense, while being able to showboat in fantastic and improbable ways. Jones won wold championships at middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight, and eventually heavyweight in a historic accomplishment. After a near-flawless first 50 fights of his career -- his lone loss a controversial disqualification against Montell Griffin that was avenged in less than one round in the rematch -- Jones career slowly began to unravel as his style was too dependent on reflexes that diminished over time.
Is the fight safe?
Older boxers have come back for exhibition bouts in the past. Tyson had floated the idea for months before the bout was announced, though many expected his opponent to be Holyfield, who was similarly teasing an exhibition return. There are, of course, safety concerns when it comes to two men in their 50s who have taken full careers of punches to the head. A report by Yahoo! Sports' Kevin Iole stated, "Tyson-Jones fight will be EXHIBITION bout with bigger gloves, perhaps 12 ounces. They met with Andy Foster of [California State Athletic Commission] on Zoom recently.
Of course, the fighters have spoken differently about their approach to the fight, not wanting to turn the public off to the idea. But Foster doubled down on the idea that the fighters would not be trying to knock each other out and were expected to "exhibit their boxing abilities" over eight, three-minute rounds, featuring no headgear and large gloves that would typically only be used for in-gym sparring sessions.