Mike Tyson, Roy Jones Jr. is ready to once again accidentally slide up his boxing gloves to increase his legacy

If this were to happen in any other year, Saturday’s heavyweight show between Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. would feel as normal as a zombie apocalypse. You’re good or bad, but somehow par for the 2020 course.

Legendary boxing champions once again tie their gloves together at an empty Los Angeles Staples Center in an eight-turn, pay-per-view showdown that is causing a great deal of nostalgia, but there is little guarantee that the entertainment value is worth the price of entry.

The central cause of such uncertainty is the careful handling of the California State Athletics Commission in handling the event.

Given the combined age of 105 of the fighters and the fact that 54-year-old Tyson (50–6, 44 KO) had not fought professionally for 15 years, the CSAC precautionary position makes sense. But it also caused some confusion for both fighters and potential ready customers.

Andy Foster, executive director of CSAC, made a strong statement about non-negotiable provisions, including larger gloves (12 ounces) and two-minute rounds, despite the competition being held without headgear. Yet Foster insists he won’t be a winner and that not every fighter can start with a rash that feels antithetical to the default intent of each contestant.

“Who goes to the ring with the great, legendary Mike Tyson and thinks it’s an exhibition?” Jones said during an October teleconference to help fight. “Twelve ounces of gloves and headless gear, and this is just an exhibition? Come on, be true. Who’s going to stand up with one of the most dangerous punches in boxing history and not get ready for a real fight?”

Jones (66–9, 47 KO), who worked as an active professional in 2018, repeatedly said in interviews that he was not only going for a rash, but was willing to fight for his life in the ring against the naturally bigger Tyson if the fight asked.

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Foster publicly counteracted such claims by saying the fight was for entertainment purposes only and would be stopped after the first sign of blood. He also reiterated his previous position, insisting that the event should not look more intense than “hard sparring.”

“Listen, I don’t know what a real fight is,” Tyson said. – You have Mike Tyson and Roy Jones. I come to fight and I hope he will fight. That’s all you need to know.

The fact that both contestants were so keen to confront the constraints of the event could help add intrigue to the already awful promotion. But the committee’s tough stance could also paralyze hopes of reckless excitement, putting a lot of pressure on the shoulder of appointed referee, Ray Corona.

Either way, the WBC certainly didn’t miss a shot that linked its brand to the fight by announcing that both fighters would take home a solemn “Front Line” title, adorned with the “Black Lives Matter” at the front of the belt. WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman has also appointed veteran boxers Christy Martin, Vinny Pazienza and Chad Dawson as judges, each of whom will choose a winner, although Foster later said the three would do so remotely, only in a ceremonial role where there would be no scoring. per round.

So then the question arises, why do we do this? For Tyson, this is for reasons that go far beyond money, especially considering he vowed to donate his wallet to charity.

Tyson claimed he was starting to become overweight and his wife encouraged him to start running again. The sudden turn to fitness triggered Tyson’s competitive and addictive side. Suddenly, the fighting spirit and love of sports that had been noticeably lacking in the second half of Tyson’s career returned.

“[In 2005,] I was happy to leave the ring. I was terrified of still being in the ring. I was on drugs then and I was a completely different person, ”Tyson said. – But I want it now. I just feel wonderful. I trained and a light bulb went out in my head. “

First, Tyson said he was offered the opportunity to box former ex-wrestler and MMA star Bob Sapp. This conversation became an offer to meet former heavyweight champion Shannon Briggs instead. As the idea for Tyson’s return continued to grow (and eventually expanded into what he hoped would be a lineup of PPVs representing all sports, called the “Legends Only League”), Jones ’name finally emerged.

Although 51-year-old Jones is, of course, smaller than Tyson, winning a £ 160-175 world championship full-time, he shocked the world in 2003 by stepping into a one-time heavyweight to get John Ruiz to move forward and claim the WBA title. The aftermath led to short conversations about how Jones could face a then faded Tyson for big money, but the fight never came together.

“When you get a call that says Mike Tyson wants to fight you, it’s bucket-listed material,” Jones said. “Wherever I go in life, a young kid first asks me, ‘Hey, have you ever fought Mike Tyson?’ “I don’t have to say no now.”

While the opportunity to be Tyson’s dance partner seemed too good for Jones to let go, it’s clear that Tyson was also very attracted to the chance to potentially end his career on his own terms. Despite being inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2011 and holding the historical footnote of the youngest heavyweight champion in history, Tyson spent more years as a self-destructive attraction than a viable elite.

For years after his retirement, Tyson spoke very openly about how ashamed he was of his fighting days and his behavior during those years. Although drugs and alcohol consumption had returned for years to become commercially branded as the actor and star of his own one-man show, he only found true healing through experiments with psychedelic drugs and reconciled himself with his struggle. person.

“The last time I was 215 pounds, I think I was 18 or 17,” Tyson said. “I’m very happy with everything I’ve done and it’s just total confidence and self-love. I’m just so happy and I’m ready for that.

“My way of thinking is completely happy. I’ve been doing this my whole life since I was 13. Now I’m more advanced than ever. My goal is to go there with the best intentions of my life and make my opponent disabled. That’s exactly it.”

For Jones, who had a successful second life in boxing as a coach and graduated as a broadcaster, he also took his role seriously to make up for it once again to be a nuisance to his fans during such a difficult time.

“How can you say that when we are going through COVID and everyone is in trouble, why don’t they want to be someone waiting for something in front of people?” Jones said. “So when you’re having the most difficulty ever knocking on the front door and ringing your phone, how can you say no?”