The biggest news in boxing this year is without doubt the return of Mike Tyson.
At the age of 54, the former heavyweight champion of the world will return to the ring in an exhibition fight against Roy Jones Jr. The contest was due to take place on the 12th of September in Los Angeles but has since been put back to the 28th of November. The location has also changed and the bout will now happen at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
Originally, the fight was due to take place behind closed doors but the change of date means there is now the possibility of fans being allowed inside the arena. Jones Jr was not happy about the date change and has since threatened legal action, which put the meeting in doubt.
Jones Jr said, “Why would I change the date and mess up the rest of my year when I agreed to September 12?”
However, Jones Jr took to Instagram and posted a video during which he said, “They gave me a new term, a new date and a new chance to act a fool, which is what I love to do anyway.”
Following the initial announcement of Tyson’s return to the ring, many of those within boxing were uncertain about his decision. George Foreman said, “I would just tell them it’s really dangerous but when you make up your mind to do something like that, you can’t tell them ‘don’t do it.’ They’re not going to hear that.”
Boxing fans around the world cannot wait to see the return of Tyson but what can we expect from the American? If the training videos being circulated online are anything to go by, Tyson looks in fantastic shape. His hand speed is incredible and although showing speed in short bursts is nothing compared to producing the goods over eight rounds, the signs are extremely encouraging.
So much so that sportbooks have Tyson marked as favorite to win the fight. You must go back to 2005 to find the last time ‘Iron Mike’ was in a boxing ring. He lost to Irishman Kevin McBride in the 6th round and it was the sixth loss of a professional career that spanned 58 fights. Three of the six defeats have come in Tyson’s last four fights, which is not a promising statistic ahead of the exhibition clash with Jones Jr.
Interestingly, when both men were at their boxing best in the 1990’s, it was Jones Jr who was chosen as boxer of the decade. Perhaps this will be used as motivation by Tyson, who will believe it should have been him claiming the honor, not his upcoming opponent.
It would not be a surprise if, as the younger fighter, Jones Jr is quicker around the ring than Tyson. Jones Jr will try to use his speed to his advantage to score points with the judges whereas Tyson would prefer to be working at close range. It is going to be an intriguing contrast of styles but difficult to call until we see both men in action.