The training footage and shirtless selfies were building towards a comeback after all.
Mike Tyson, 54, will return to the ring on September 12 to face Roy Jones Jr in an eight-round exhibition fight. As reported first by Yahoo Sports, the clash between the former heavyweight champions will take place at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
Tyson confirmed the news on Twitter with a post captioned: “I. AM. BACK. #legendsonlyleague. September 12th vs @RealRoyJonesJr on #Triller and PPV #frontlinebattle @TysonLeague”.
It was not entirely unexpected.
Even the lockdown couldn’t keep ‘Iron Mike’ down.
Tyson has caused a stir online with videos of him working out and getting back into boxing shape. In May, he posted a boxing montage that finished with “I’m back”, further fuelling comeback speculations.
Last week, Tyson announced a return — sort of. ‘The baddest man on the planet’ will fight a great white shark as part of Discovery Channel’s annual Shark Week festivities on August 9.
— Mike Tyson (@MikeTyson) July 23, 2020
“Someone’s gonna get bit,” Tyson warned at the end of the advertisement, though the event itself will be more in line with the gimmicky race between Michael Phelps and the great white shark in 2017. When the “race” was televised, the winner of 23 Olympic gold medals swam alone, and was matched with a computer-generated image of a shark.
The bout against Roy Jones Jr. is already more believable.
Roy Jones Jr. is ‘Captain Hook’
It didn’t take long for odds to come in, and online sportsbook site Bovada pegged Tyson as a +120 underdog while Jones is the favourite at -160. Which means you would earn $120 if you put $100 on Tyson, while a $160 wager on Jones will get you $100.
The reason a leading gambling site has bet against Tyson is that the 54-year-old hasn’t fought since losing to Kevin McBride on June 11, 2005. Jones is no spring chicken at 51, but he has been retired for less than 30 months.
Jones, who has simultaneously held a record seven belts and was the first former middleweight champion to win the heavyweight title. His hands-down, head-movement defence went against the conventions of the boxing; as did the tendency to leading with hooks instead of a jab. The 3-4 punch flurry of hooks he regularly unleashed earned him the moniker ‘Captain Hook’.
While famous rival Evander Holyfield and New Zealand rugby great Sonny Bill Williams were among those eyeing Tyson’s comeback bout, Jones’s name was always in the mix.
In May, after training footage of a shredded Tyson surfaced, Jones shot out a cryptic message: “I don’t like being bullied”.
Speaking on Instagram Live, Jones told Tyson, “I will fight you. I know I’m 51 but I will fight somebody over 50. And I ain’t scared to fight nobody, nowhere, at no time. Headgear, no headgear.”
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Will there be headgear?
No, the two boxers won’t be wearing headgear. But they could be wearing larger than normal gloves.
Andy Foster — the executive director of the California State Athletic Commission, who confirmed that Tyson’s booking of the September 12 date — believed the two would we wearing 12-ounce gloves.
“This isn’t a situation where they’re going out there to try to take each other’s heads off. They’re just going to be in there moving around the ring and letting fans see these legends,” Foster told Yahoo Sports.
Heavyweight professional boxers generally use 10-ounce gloves in fights, and 12-ounce variants for pads and light sparring. Extra weight means extra padding. So larger gloves take longer to compress and have more surface area which spreads the impact of a blow to reduce peak stresses/pressures on the body.
Tyson’s plans ahead are essentially LOL.
Not a legitimate boxing comeback, Tyson v Jones is a marketing vehicle for the former’s ‘Legends Only League’.
The unfortunately-acronymed ‘LOL’ strives to give retired big names a place to compete.
“Legends Only League will support athletes in their individual sports, creating some of the most epic competitions, products and live events in the world,” Tyson said in a press release on Thursday.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to create, build, and honour athletes. All athletes live to follow their dreams and fight for excellence. It’s something that is inherent in each of us, and that drive never goes away.”
Tyson v Jones will be the main event of a full card, which reportedly could feature bouts between MMA fighters and boxers.
The only undercard fight confirmed so far sees former NBA player Nate Robinson face popular YouTuber Jake Paul.
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