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Exhibition Time: Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jnr steals the headlines

INGLEWOOD, CA - JULY 15: Boxer Roy Jones Jr attends a block party celebrating HBO's new season of "Insecure" on July 15, 2017 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for HBO)
Despite some solid matchmaking from Showtime, it’s a battle of 50-somethings that grabs the boxing world’s attention, writes George Gigney

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Though most headlines were stolen by the announcement that Mike Tyson will face Roy Jones Jnr in an exhibition bout, the biggest news of the week came from Showtime, who unveiled their Premier Boxing Champions broadcast schedule for the rest of the year. And it is some schedule.

The two standouts are the two scheduled pay-per-view cards. The first features both Charlo brothers in September, Jermall and Jermell, defending their respective world titles against world class opposition. Jermall faces Sergiy Derevyanchenko while Jermell seeks to unify against Jeison Rosario.

The following month, Gervonta Davis will take on Leo Santa Cruz in a terrific clash – both men will have spurious WBA ‘world’ titles on the line from two different weight classes, but that nonsense doesn’t take away from the quality of the fight.

Outside of those cards are solid fights like Stephen Fulton Jnr vs Angelo Leo and Nordine Oubaali defending his WBC bantamweight title against Nonito Donaire, who is rightfully being rewarded for his heroic effort against Naoya Inoue last year.

There are a few lacklustre bouts in the schedule but, should it all go as planned, this is an impressive slate given the current circumstances. Even outside of a global pandemic this would be an exciting run of fights.

It wasn’t that long ago that some observers were writing Showtime’s obituary and predicting they’d soon go the same way as HBO in the boxing world, so to reveal arguably the strongest post-lockdown schedule of any broadcaster is an impressive feat.

Now onto Tyson-Jones Jnr. It was officially announced that the two all-time greats will meet in an exhibition bout in Los Angeles on September 12. It’ll be at heavyweight, with Jones telling The Athletic he intends to weigh in around 205lbs.

Executive Director of the California State Athletic Commission, Andy Foster, spoke to Yahoo Sports about how the bout will actually look and while neither fighter will wear a headguard, this will apparently not be a true competitive contest.

“This isn’t a situation where they’re going out there to try to take each other’s heads off,” he said.

“They’re just going to be in there moving around the ring and letting fans see these legends.”

In order for fans to see these legends, they’ll need to fork out the as-yet unconfirmed pay-per-view price, or sign up to Triller – a new media platform that the exhibition is helping launch. That, in itself, could be cause for concern – Tyson has been duped into murky and ultimately unsuccessful business ventures in the past. I hope that’s not the case here.

That being said, if Tyson and Jones both walk away from this with hefty paydays – which is apparently the plan – then more power to them. Yes, there is something grotesque about two men in their 50s fighting for pay, but that’s the world we live in. Jake Paul is ‘fighting’ an ex-professional basketball player on the undercard for crying out loud.

The only other concern is what happens if, for some reason, the pair do actually start trying to take each other’s heads off. Tyson’s mellowed in later life but he’s never exactly been know for his restraint.

Canelo Alvarez may have found his opponent for the September 12 date he’s slated to fight on; super-middleweight champion Callum Smith. The Athletic reported that Smith has been offered $5 million for the fight, which is yet to be signed and confirmed but is allegedly close to being done.

However, ESPN report that Canelo is now at odds with streaming giant DAZN about the purse for his next fight. According to their contract, he should be guaranteed roughly $33 million, but in the current circumstances that seems very unlikely – apparently the Mexican star is not willing to budge.

Add to that the fact that Tyson-Jones has already been confirmed for September 12 and we might find that Canelo doesn’t even box on that date. DAZN might deem it too risky to potentially sacrifice essential viewers on that date.

Should Canelo-Smith happen, I think it’s a really good fight. Alvarez would rightly start as favourite, but Smith has the physical attributes and ability to cause him huge problems.

The Athletic also reported that, should Canelo win his next fight, he will finally face Gennady Golovkin in a trilogy bout on Cinco de Mayo weekend of next year – a fight DAZN have long been waiting for.

It was announced that acclaimed trainer Naazim Richardson passed away after a long battle with illness. Best known for his work with the likes of Bernard Hopkins and Shane Mosley, one of Richardson’s defining moments came with the latter. Just before Mosley was set to face Antonio Margarito, Richardson noticed Margarito was trying to use illegal hand wraps, and forced them to be re-wrapped properly. Mosley went on to thrash Margarito.

BROADCASTS

DAZN, Golden Boy Promotions and the California State Athletic Commission came under fire this past weekend when Senesia Estrada produced a 7-second knockout of the grossly overmatched Miranda Adkins.

Estrada – unbeaten in 19 – left the 42-year-old Adkins out cold in their televised bout. Adkins, a late replacement, was 5-0 going in but had only ever faced debutants, one of whom she fought twice.

How this fight was allowed to take place is baffling, but not all that surprising in boxing. Yes, it’s harder than ever to make competitive fights during this pandemic, but mismatches like this should never be allowed. We’re lucky there wasn’t an even worse outcome.

BT Sport helped further promote the upcoming Joe Joyce-Daniel Dubois fight later this year with Joyce topping a behind-closed-doors show by walloping Michael Wallisch inside the distance.

Dubois provided reactions from his home, with humorous results, poking fun at Joyce’s 270-pound frame. The show itself had plenty of expected results, some less so, but it was another important step to getting the sport back on its feet in the UK. These fights have further meaning than just their respective results.

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