By: Hans Themistode
From the moment the ink dried on their fight agreement, boxing fans around the world began taking a trip down memory lane.
Thoughts of Mike Tyson destroying his opposition before they were able to finish their bag of popcorn were still pertinent. Sure he looked like a shell of his former scary self in 2005, his last ring appearance, but with the Brooklyn native releasing a new workout video seemingly every week, the question of whether or not he would leave Roy Jones Jr. in a vegetative state come November 28th, became a real one.
Fans of Tyson hoping to catch a glimpse of his “baddest man on the planet” days, might be excited to see him dish out some real damage. But the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) on the other hand, isn’t expecting Tyson to go out there and throw haymakers.
“It’s an exhibition. They can exhibit their boxing skills, but I don’t want them using their best efforts to hurt each other. They’re going to spar hard, but they shouldn’t be going for a knockout. This isn’t a record-book type of fight. This is not world-championship boxing right now. It’s not what this is. People shouldn’t be getting knocked out. The public can see what kind of shape Roy and Mike are still in.”
In a sense, the CSAC views this as a safe yet entertaining matchup. But the words safe and Mike Tyson have always been an oxymoron.
“He’s still Mike Tyson,” said Jones Jr. to Sky Sports. “He’s still one of the strongest, most explosive people who ever touched a boxing ring.”
With 22 first round knockouts over the course of his career, Tyson simply wasn’t interested in having a long night. But for the most part, those explosive performances came from a young Mike Tyson. The one who would repeatedly curse during media sessions and donned black shorts with black boxing boots with no socks as he made his way to the ring shirtless.
This version of Tyson has mellowed. He’s been an advocate for mental health, stops for photographs and seldom curses at reporters anymore. But his new found facade isn’t fooling Jones Jr.
The former four division world champion and one time heavyweight titlist was never one to back down from a challenge. But with everything now set in stone, and the former pound for pound champ realizing that there’s no turning back, he’s acknowledging his mea culpa.
“If anything, I made a mistake going in with him. He’s the bigger guy, he’s the explosive guy. He’s going to have all the first-round fireworks, not me. I do have first-round fireworks. But he’s known for more first-round fireworks than anybody to ever touch boxing, other than maybe George Foreman. With him having the first-round fireworks, he’ll be against a guy smaller than him, maybe 40-50 pounds smaller than him.”