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Mike Tyson vs Roy Jones Jr: The legendary duo battle to a draw and talk up a potential rematch
Former undisputed heavyweight champion Mike Tyson and ex-four-weight world champion Roy Jones Jr made their returns to the ring on BT Sport Box Office.
Tyson admitted he thought he’d done enough to win the fight but was happy to settle for a draw, with Jones suggesting a rematch to settle the score.
Whether that becomes a reality, the former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world insists this is just the start of his return to the sport.
Having last donned the gloves back in 2005, the 54-year-old looked in good shape as he took the fight to his opponent from the first bell.
Jones, three years his opponent’s junior, also believed he had done enough to claim victory but the judges – former WBC world champions Chad Dawson, Christy Martin and Vinny Pazienza – could not separate the legendary duo.
Story of the fight
On a star-studded evening that saw both Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa perform, as well as Ne-Yo singing the US national anthem, somewhat surprisingly both fighters made understated and business-like ring walks.
Tyson went old school in his black shorts, black boots and no socks, while Jones paid tribute to the late Kobe Bryant as he wore the LA Lakers’ famous white, purple and gold and donned the number 24 on his gloves as they fought “in his building”.
With the voice of boxing Michael Buffer’s famous words – “let’s get ready to rumble” – ringing in his ears, the ‘Baddest Man on the Planet’ came out of the blocks looking to engage.
Jones however showed that although he may not be as quick as he once was, he certainly still had enough speed to evade shots and as Iron Mike took the centre of the somewhat smaller than normal ring, the Florida fighter danced around the ropes.
If there was any lingering doubt about Tyson’s feelings towards the ‘exhibition’ nature of this contest, they were soon dispelled as he left a little on his opponent after the bell at the end of the second round.
Jones seemed to be feeling the pace come the third, and he repeatedly looked to tie up his opponent, telling his corner that he was struggling to connect his jab because Tyson was countering so well.
Midway through the fifth, Tyson produced a trademark left hook that caught the former middleweight world champion, as he tried to seize on his seemingly-tiring opponent.
“I feel like I’m being fed to a bear,” was Jones’ assessment just before entering the ring and it may well have felt like that, such was the ferocity and relentlessness coming from the opposite corner.
But being one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters in the history of the sport, the 51-year-old briefly showed signs of a second wind in the sixth as he looked to turn the tide back his way.
After the youngest-ever heavyweight champ restored control in the penultimate round, his corner insisted he “win this decision” in the last, but in actual fact we were treated to a bit of showboating from the legendary duo.
Despite his 15-year absence from the ring, Tyson finished the stronger and went on the offensive right up until they embraced at the final bell.
What they said
“I’m used to doing it for three minutes [rounds] and sometimes that two minutes felt like three minutes!
“I’m happy I got this under my belt and I’ll continue and do more.
“I was afraid I might get hurt, I’ve not fought in fifteen years, he only just stopped three years ago – why did nobody care about my ass?
“He surprised me with the hook, he hit me with a good hook and it hurt.”
I was surprised by Mike Tyson, I didn't think he could roll back the years.
- David Haye
“If he hits you - if it's his head, his punches, his body shots, it doesn't matter - everything hurts!
“I thought I did enough boxing on the outside to edge it out, but I'm cool with the draw - we might just have to do it again.
“I’ll go and talk to my family, see what they thought, and if they enjoyed what they saw and we want to do it again, I’ll come back and do it again.”
Lennox Lewis – Former undisputed heavyweight champion
“I was asking, ‘what is Roy Jones doing in the heavyweight division’, but he did well. He was a little tired because that’s not his weight class.
“I think someone else will challenge both of them now… and this one was a success so I think they’ll probably do it again.”
David Haye – Former two-weight world champion
“I was surprised by Mike Tyson, I didn’t think he could roll back the years.
“I didn’t think after 15 years out of the game and all of the abuse he’s dished out to himself over the years that he could do eight two minute rounds.”
Glenn McCrory – Former cruiserweight world champion & Tyson sparring partner
“You could tell they’d worked hard, they concentrated in there… they didn’t pull the wool over anyone’s eyes and did the job.
“Tyson won it though, didn’t he?”
Richie Woodhall – Former WBC super-middleweight champion & fought Jones at 1988 Olympics
“I thought Tyson actually looked more comfortable than Roy Jones, I thought he was struggling fairly early on in the contest getting his breath and fitness wise.
“If that went to points, Tyson would have won it for me.”
Jake Paul beats Nate Robinson (KO, 2nd round)
YouTube sensation Paul picks up the second stoppage victory of his fledgling boxing career after flooring Robinson with a right hand in the second round.
In truth the contest could, and perhaps should, have been stopped sooner, with the former NBA star having just beaten the count twice before.
The referee has had a stinker.
- Richie Woodhall
The first came after a right hand from Paul caught him around the ear and sent him sprawling to the canvas in an opening round where the referee constantly had to separate the clinch.
The second started in much the same fashion with Robinson clearly struggling on his debut and ultimately ended with the Paul picking up another knockout win.
Badou Jack beats Blake McKernan (unanimous decision)
Former two-weight world champion Jack returns to winning ways having suffered back-to-back defeats coming into the bout against undefeated McKernan.
In truth Jack, who boasts wins over Brits Nathan Cleverley and George Groves among his 22 victories, controlled the fight from the first bell and was never in any real danger.
But the light heavyweight contest went the full eight rounds, with the Las Vegas-based Swede failing to finish the former US soldier who withstood a heavy barrage.
Jack, who drew with Olympic gold medallist James DeGale back in January 2017, will no doubt be pleased with the win but has plenty to work on if he’s to compete for world titles again.
Jamaine Ortiz beats Sulaiman Segawa (stoppage, 7th round)
Ortiz won the vacant WBC USNBC silver lightweight title in the opening fight of the main card, stopping Segawa in the seventh round.
Clearly relishing the occasion, unbeaten Ortiz showed his class and confidence from the off as he fluidly switched stances and taunted his southpaw opponent.
Undeterred, Segawa battled back into the contest with some powerful body blows but seemed unable to truly trouble his opponent who danced along the ropes and picked his shots.
It took until the seventh for Ortiz to make his dominance count however, flooring his opponent – who beat the count – before leaving him no way out at the second time of asking to secure the 14th stoppage of his career.