In what appears to be the biggest boxing exhibition in years (if you don’t count Mayweather vs McGregor) Tyson and Jones Jr will be meeting September 12th. Social media has been discussing this fight rabidly and my friends all want to get my thoughts on this match up. When I first heard about this fight I did not really know what to think. Tyson’s mitt work sessions with his visible weight loss and patented power and explosiveness garnered lots of buzz earlier this year. Many began to speculate a professional comeback or a potential third fight with Evander Holyfield. I was very surprised to see it was Roy’s name that was put next to Iron Mike’s for an exhibition fight. There was brief moment in time back in 2002/2003 when this fight was nearly made in the professional ranks when Jones Jr made a foray into heavyweight boxing. Tyson was on the slide but was still a name and a draw despite being trounced by Lennox Lewis in a fight that showed his time as a serious contender was over.
The rules for the exhibition have been announced and they are interesting. The fight will be 8 rounds, they will wear 12 ounce gloves, there will be no judges and the fight will be called off if either man is cut. Unless there is a knockout there will not be a winner declared. I have been slow to get enthusiastic about this fight and now that the rules have come out I am not really sure if I am going to go all in on this one. The 12 ounce gloves, no judges and cuts stipulation lead me to believe that his will not be a serious fight where either man tries to really hurt the other and that this will resemble a sparring session. I feel this is more a springboard for Mike to dip his toe in the water before jumping straight into the ring with a fully trained professional. From statements made by Jones he shows no interest in fighting beyond this exhibition. Evander Holyfield has weighed in with concern that this could disrupt a possible third bout. Holyfield has been on social media with other former fighters, notably Wladimir Klitschko, whom he is doing workouts with but not gaining the same fanfare as Tyson. Tyson does not seem to have made any open call outs beyond this match up but it is unlikely that this is it unless something goes wrong on the 12th.
Tyson’s upside: Jones is a lot smaller than Tyson and over the last 16 or so years Jones has been stopped 5 times. 3 of those losses are over the 175 lb limit where he was really at his best.
Jones Jr’s upside: He has fought more recently with with a bout in 2018 whereas Tyson has not fought since 2005. Jones has also stayed in consistent shape even while being way past his best. Tyson has ballooned up in weight and shed it back off and has not fought in roughly 15 years.
Prediction: I’m leaning toward a no decision. I am skeptical that either man is going to pursue the knockout to begin with so logically I think it will go the distance where judges will not render a decision. Tyson for as good as he has looked in the training film has only posted very limited amounts of footage. He can be seen throwing combinations and bobbing and weaving like we saw in the 80’s but he isn’t recorded doing this for any longer than 10 or 15 seconds. I’m not sure he can maintain any sort of pace for more than a minute or two. Maybe that is enough to get rid of Jones but I feel like his speed and reflexes could see him out of dangerous patches. I have a feeling the last 4 or 5 rounds are going to be exhaustion and limited exchanges.
Wild Card: The second weekend in September is usually marketed for Mexican Independence Day. Going back to Julio Cesar Chavez, Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather Jr and now Canelo Alvarez this is usually reserved for the biggest stars of the sport with the one of the key match ups of the year. I am curious if Canelo tries to compete with this event. He has not secured an opponent for that weekend and it is fast approaching. I wonder if the struggling streaming service DAZN will put their foot down on Canelo if he tries to stage a fight for his Mexican fan base on the same date in fear of being out drawn by this exhibition.