Mike Tyson showed glimpses of his destructive prime Saturday night during the 54-year-old boxing icon's return to the ring for a lively exhibition bout with 51-year-old Roy Jones Jr.
Both fighters had impressive moments during a fight that was unofficially ruled a draw by the WBC judges at ringside. Tyson and Jones fought eight two-minute rounds, and both emerged smiling and apparently healthy from a highly unusual event at Staples Center.
'This is better than fighting for championships,' Tyson said of the heavyweight exhibition, which raised money for various charities. 'We´re humanitarians now. We can do something good for the world. We've got to do this again. I would absolutely do this again.'
Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr battled out an entertaining draw in their blockbuster exhibition fight in Los Angeles
Tyson showed glimpses of his old destructive self as he went on the front foot and threw wild hooks at Jones' head and body
The former heavyweight champion of the world's return to the ring after a 15-year absence attracted international attention, and Iron Mike did his best to show the form that made him a legend to a generation of boxing fans. Tyson tagged Jones with body shots and a handful of head punches during a bout that was required to be a fairly safe glorious sparring session by the California State Athletic Commission.
'The body shots definitely took a toll,' said Jones, the former four-division world champion widely considered the most skilled boxer of his generation. 'It's something to take the punches that Mike throws. I'm cool with a draw. Maybe we can do it again.'
Jones walked to the ring with gloves and trunks honoring Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, while Tyson wore his signature all-black trunks. After the traditional pre-fight pomp and an introduction by Michael Buffer, the 50-something champions both came out throwing punches that evoked echoes of their glorious primes.
They also tied up frequently on the inside, and their occasionally labored breathing could be heard on the microphones in the empty arena.
Jones Jr did a good job of stifling a lot of Tyson's work and impressed with his evasive skills despite being at the age of 51
Tyson was the more aggressive fighter with Jones Jr trying to keep him at bay with his jab for much of the fight
Hip hop star Snoop Dogg's witty television commentary was among the loudest noises inside Staples, and he had a handful of zingers: 'This is like two of my uncles fighting at the barbecue!'
Tyson and Jones were the headliners in the most improbable pay-per-view boxing event in years, engineered by social networking app Triller and featuring fights interspersed with hip hop performances in an empty arena.
The event was derided as an anti-sporting spectacle by some critics, yet both Tyson and Jones appeared to handle themselves capably and safely. Fans were clearly enamored, with the show getting enormous traction on social media.
'I hit you with some good shots, and you took it,' Tyson said. 'I respect that.'
In the co-main event, YouTube star Jake Paul knocked out former NBA player Nate Robinson, stopped in the second round of Robinson's pro boxing debut. Paul, in his second pro fight, recorded three knockdowns against Robinson, the three-time NBA Slam Dunk contest champion, before an overhand right put Robinson flat on his face and apparently unconscious.
Tyson retired from boxing in 2005, saying he longer had 'the fighting guts or the heart' after he quit in a dismal loss to journeyman Peter McBride. Finally free of his sport's relentless pressure, Tyson gradually straightened out his life, kicking a self-described drug addiction and eventually succeeding in acting, stage performance, charity work and even marijuana cultivation while settling into comfortable family life in Las Vegas with his third wife and their children.
54-year-old Tyson pins Jones Jr on the ropes and digs in a body shot during Saturday night's fight in California
Tyson insisted afterwards he would 'absolutely' fight again in an exhibition but Jones Jr was more reluctant to agree
The idea of a boxing comeback seemed preposterous, but Tyson started toward this unlikely fight when he started doing 15 daily minutes on a treadmill a few years ago at his wife's urging in a bid to lose 100 pounds. The workouts soon became multi-hour affairs encompassing biking, running and finally punching as he regained a measure of his athletic prime through discipline and a vegan diet.
Tyson posted a video of himself hitting pads on social media early in the coronavirus pandemic, and the overwhelming public response led to several lucrative offers for a ring comeback. With the chance to make money for himself and for charity, Tyson eventually agreed - but he had to find an opponent.
Jones fought steadily into his late 40s, but thought he was done with the sport after winning his last bout in 2018. He couldn't resist the chance to take on Tyson after the greats never met during their first professional careers because Tyson was a heavyweight and Jones mostly was a light heavyweight (178 pounds).
Tyson and Jones negotiated with the California commission over the limitations of their bout, eventually arriving at eight two-minute rounds of hard sparring with only ceremonial judging and no official winner. The WBC still stepped in to award a ceremonial 'Frontline Battle Belt' to both fighters.
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Well, that was entertaining
Great to see two legends back in the ring, not doing themselves a disservice and leaving safe and sound... not sure I'd want to see it again though.
That's all we have time for tonight, though folks.
Thanks for joining me. Now go get some shut eye!
Until next time, it's goodbye from me.
Roy Jones Jr: 'It's hard. I took some hard punches from Mike. I need to talk to my family, see what they think. Thank you to everybody who sent us out the right way. If everything goes the right way and my family say it's alright, who knows.'
Tyson: 'Well I'm used to doing it for three minutes. I'm just happy I got this under my belt and I'm going to continue to do more. Absolutely I would do this again. I'm just happy I could go eight rounds. Knockouts mean nothing, you have to be able to go the distance.'
Jones Jr gets up on his toes and shows off his hand speed but again the shots fall short. Tyson responds with an aggressive charge forward but Jones ties him up again. Tyson steps forward and loads up with a right hand but Jones ducks out the way... just as well. Bit more intent from both men this round but they're still struggling to find the range.
Tyson comes firing out of the blocks with two quick jabs and then tries to work away at the body. Jones stands his ground and trades with Tyson but both men fail to find the target. Tyson slips to his left and counters with a solid left hook - probably the best punch of the fight so far. Tyson swings wildly as he tries to finish strong. Jones stands his ground and punches with him but little lands.
Jones and Tyson exchange jabs before Jones sneaks in three quick left hooks during the clinch. Tyson responds with an overhand right but Jones takes the shot well. Bit more of a sloppy round this one with both men doing a lot of grappling. The two exchange in the centre of the ring after breaking free. Tyson still trying to land big shots but Jones Jr still has life in his legs and is moving well to evade the punches.
Tyson charges forward and throws a left hook to the body and head. Jones finds a home for a sneaky left jab and bobs out of range. Tyson feints and walks Jones on to a decent right hand. Jones sneaks a left hand on the inside before the referee splits them up. Tyson showing the kind of intent we saw throughout his whole career but Jones doing a good job of stifling a lot of his work. This is a decent watch so far.
Tyson starts off fast and lands two sharp shots to the body. Jones Jr just trying to establish his jab and stay out of range in this first round. Tyson is definitely sticking true to his word and throwing with menace. Jones, the slicker and quicker boxer, doing well to avoid most of Tyson's early attacks. Round 1 in the books.
No sing and dance from Tyson either...
He walks straight into the ring and takes his top off. This feels like we've been sucked into a timewarp. Very strange seeing these two back in the ring again. Only a few minutes away now from the first bell.
Always feels like a big night of boxing when Michael Buffer gets on the mike
Here comes the underdog tonight, Roy Jones Jr. Fairly understated walk in by his standards.
David Haye is backing Roy Jones Jr to cause an upset!
'I just can't see Roy Jones Jr losing to a 54-year-old Tyson who has had eight fights in 20 years and only won three of those. I can't see him changing his body to be able to beat someone like Roy Jones who has been training for years and fighting recently, he may have not won all of them but they were good opposition. Anyone who can take Tyson's early onslaught can beat him.'
Mike Tyson seeming very calm and honest before his comeback fight
'I don't believe this is happening really but it is happening. I do whatever I want to do, I'm like Alexander the Great. Whatever I'm afraid I do. Absolutely I was afraid of this, why would I want to do this after 15 years? I'm going to protect myself and throw punches with bad intention. I'm fighting for other people's futures in a humanitarian way.'
The referee coming in for huge criticism for allowing Robinson to continue despite him already being put down twice and seeming to be counted out in the first round.
The knockout was a bad one and I just hope Nate is OK.
Nate is put down again by another big overhand right. Jake lands another huge right and Nate is knocked out cold in chilling fashion.
Nate Robinson has been dropped by an overhand right but just about beats the count. This has been a very scrappy fight so far. As BT Sport commentator McIntosh said: 'This doesn't really resemble boxing.'
Jake Paul is up next...
If he wins, the YouTuber is confident he can secure a fight with Conor McGregor!
Yep, Jack wins by unanimous decision. A comprehensive victory in the end but McKernan deserves immense credit for sticking in there. Can't fault him for his heart or chin.
This is getting tough to watch. McKernan has grotesque swelling around his eye now and is taking a lot of punishment.
He survives to hear the final bell but that was a complete mismatch. Got beat up in every round and this will be a shutout for Jack, who will be pleased to get back winning ways after almost a year since his world title defeat against Jean Pascal last time out.
Not too sure how McKernan is still in there. Another very good round for Jack as we go into the sixth.
McKernan is one tough cookie, as you'd expect from a former military man but Jack is really starting to rip home some hurtful shots now. Surely he can't continue on for much longer shipping so much punishment.
Jack is completely bossing this fight. Plenty of grit and determination from McKernan but he just looks a bit out of his depth. End could be nigh.
Two-weight world champion Badou Jack is back in action tonight
And he's made a fast start.
Looks like Blake McKernan could be in for a tough night's work. He took some hurtful shots in that opening round and it already looks like a bit of a mismatch.
Roy Jones Jr knows what he is up against. He's said Mike Tyson punches so hard he can 'break a camel's jaw' and that death is a possibility for him in this fight.
So he's mad enough for agreeing to fight him. But with that in mind, who would have wanted to have been his sparring partner?
According to Zab Judah, there was one unlucky heavyweight who came into camp with a full set of teeth and left with one missing...
We're getting closer...
Just two more fights now until the big one!
Must. Resist. The. Urge. To. Sleep.
Another very watchable fight here on the undercard.
Jamaine Ortiz has just polished off a punch-perfect performance by stopping Sulaiman Segawa in the seventh round to extend his unbeaten record to 14-0.
Mike Tyson returns to the ring against Roy Jones Jr TONIGHT... but can he still do it at the age of 54?
Floyd Mayweather, Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield and boxing's big names make their predictions ahead of the fight...
Find out what they had to say below!
Mike Tyson may have been renowned for his frightening knockout power in the ring, but research from William Hill has revealed that he trails the likes of Deontay Wilder and Shannon Briggs when it comes to the heavyweight division’s heaviest ever hitter.
William Hill has analysed every heavyweight world champion since 1962 – when the WBA’s version of the world title was first introduced – to fight 100+ winning rounds, in order to decipher the boxer with the quickest knockout ratio in history.
Former two-time world heavyweight champion Shannon Briggs tops the pile when it comes to the division’s heaviest hitter, needing an average of just 2.71 rounds to knock out his opponent during his 60 career victories.
Modern-day boxing’s most lethal knockout machine is Wilder, who sits second on the list. The Bronze Bomber may have lost his WBC title to Tyson Fury earlier this year, but he follows closely behind Briggs with an average of just 3.12 rounds per knockout from his 42 wins.
Sitting third and fourth on the list are ex-WBO world champion Tommy Morrison and British boxing legend Frank Bruno, who required an average of 3.13 and 3.35 rounds respectively to land a knockout.
Tyson, who reigned as the undisputed world heavyweight champion from 1987 to 1990, rounds off the top five with an average of 3.38 rounds per knockout from his 50 career victories.
Of the 55 boxers analysed, David Haye (3.75) makes it into the top 10 in ninth place, one position ahead of George Forman (3.86), with Lennox Lewis (5.02) sitting 27th. Elsewhere, Wladimir Klitschko (5.13) is 30th, Tyson Fury (6.03) sits 45th, while Roy Jones Jr (6.42) is 47th. Sitting at the bottom of the list is Muhammad Ali (8.68).
Tony Smith, UK Marketing Director at William Hill, said: “We thought we’d take a look at which boxers have the quickest knockout ration in heavyweight history. Perhaps surprisingly, Mike Tyson only sits fifth on the list, with the former undisputed champion knocking his opponents out on average every 3.38 rounds – a record bettered by king of the ring Shannon Briggs, as well as Deontay Wilder, Tommy Morrison and Frank Bruno.
“Our research threw up a number of other interesting statistics, with boxing legend Muhammad Ali in last spot and Tyson Fury also way down the list, while David Haye makes it into the top 10 in ninth spot.”
Top 10 quickest knockout ratios:
1) Shannon Briggs: 2.71 rounds
2) Deontay Wilder: 3.12
3) Tommy Morrison: 3.13
4) Frank Bruno: 3.35
5) Mike Tyson: 3.38
6) Lamon Brewster: 3.48
7) Corrie Sanders: 3.64
8) Herbie Hide: 3.73
9) David Haye: 3.75
10) George Foreman: 3.86
Former NBA star Nate Robinson has just arrived.
He's fighting YouTuber turned professional boxer Jake Paul tonight... which will be well, interesting if not anything else.
Will we see some of the old Mike Tyson tonight?
If you are not familiar of what the old Tyson is capable of, have a read below - which includes videos of his top five KOs.
It's becoming infectious isn't it.
Now Lennox Lewis has admitted he'd be open to making a return as well!
Would you want to see that?
If that first fight is anything to go by, we are in for a treat tonight!
Edward Vazquez just edged out Irvin Gonzalez in an absolute barnburner to kick-off the show in phenomenal fashion.
Let's hope it's a sign of things to come.
Hello and welcome early risers...
Get the coffee out because we've still got plenty of hours to go until the main event and you won't want to miss this!
After 15 years away from the ring, the great Mike Tyson returns... and against the equally great Roy Jones Jr of all people.
Legend vs legend, champion vs champion but who will emerge victorious?
Make sure you stick with me to find out. I'll be bringing you plenty of build-up as well updates from the undercard before we go to the big one so don't go anywhere.