Where oh where to begin?
It’s easy to write off Saturday’s pay per view exhibition bout between former greats Mike Tyson and Roy Jones. Both men are over fifty and both haven’t fought in years. Still, there’s something about great fighters that lures us in, a promise that they still have it in them to defeat Father Time. There’s also the unspoken hope many have that the old timers show age ain’t nothing but a number, that yes, men who are old enough to be grandfathers can indeed rise to the occasion and still perform like young men in their primes.
Whether the Tyson-Jones battle, which will go down at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, will provide wish fulfillment remains to be seen. One thing that is certain, however, is that the public is interested. Or at least the media is. Tyson arguably hasn’t gotten this kind of press since losing to Lennox Lewis almost 20 years ago – way back in 2002. And, let’s face it, Tyson is the draw here. Great as Jones was, he man was never a bona fide household name. Still, in a fight where no one can predict how the fighters will look, it would be foolish to write Jones off. He’s the taller as well as the (slightly) younger man. What’s more, flashes of Jones’ old self might give Tyson fits.
Tyson was last seen in the ring back in 2005. He lost to a man named Kevin McBride, who will always go down as having beaten Mike Tyson, even though the former great was way past his prime even back then. Something to note about Tyson, though – the guy’s career was in ruins towards the end…but lately he looks sharp. Very sharp. Particularly for a man his age. Tyson may not be where he was in the 80’s – but his head seems to be in a far better place than it was years ago.
As for Jones, the man who some feel may have been the greatest fighter ever (and here you felt a prime Tyson was impressive) hasn’t fought in a few years himself. Yet Jones’ last fight was in 2018 rather than 2005. And though he was well past his prime in his last ring outing, a UD win over the obscure Scott Sigmun, Jones’ career never truly went into the freefall Tyson’s did.
Although this is an eight round exhibition bout with two minute rounds, the fight is being hyped as a potentially violent affair – which it might very well be. One doesn’t have to be counted out to have been knocked out. Let’s hope both men come out of this safe and no worse for wear.