I have been having the most vivid dreams. Perhaps it’s been the three months of lockdown. Staying for the most part indoors has lent my days a weird veneer of unreality. So it is hard to tell how much weight to attach to Mike Tyson’s declaration on Thursday that he would fight Roy Jones. But apparently a Mike Tyson vs Roy Jones eight round ‘exhibition’ is going to be a thing.
You can see how digging out two legends from the past to pit them against each other would send the Twitter-sphere into a frenzy. Tyson’s promo video has got over 800,000 views. The unseemly excitement about this event is worrying. This isn’t a computer generated fantasy fight, this is two men in their 50s, far, far beyond their primes, who should not be being coaxed out of retirement for this exhibition.
The best case scenario is that this is an utterly non-competitive showing, with heavier gloves than a contest would have and with both men solely going through the motions as best they can. But even then is that what anyone tuning in would really be wanting to see?
The California State Athletic Commission have told Sky Sports: “In this match, the referee will have the authority to stop the fight if it strays outside the boundaries of a competitive boxing exhibition.
“Mr Tyson and Mr Jones Jr will have to submit all CSAC medical tests for fighters over 40 as well as CSAC’s emergency regulations that have been put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19.”
Clearly it will be restrained but it is nevertheless irresponsible. They are too old to be taking blows, even in sparring or in jest. Boxing is no sport for old men. It’s worth reading Boxing News’ editor Matt Christie’s column to remind yourself of Mike Tyson’s last sad outing in boxing, all the way back in 2005 HERE.
Instead of being lured into a dangerous nostalgia, boxing fans should be excited about the best of today’s talent fighting one another. That should be the case – but fans aren’t even having those fights made for them. Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury, for instance, should be booking themselves into a huge heavyweight clash and it is the failing of the sport that putting together these undisputed title fights is such a tortuous process. The fact that Tyson-Jones is happening and sucking the attention away from the real fights that have been scheduled should sound an alarm bell for the state of the boxing business today.
At least we might get Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez taking on the world’s leading super-middleweight in Callum Smith. The date being eyed for that was September 12. The exact same date Mike Tyson and Roy Jones have helped themselves to. Of course.