Two former boxing greats will turn back the clock on Saturday night, but if they step between the ropes, they will find a very different game than they did decades ago.
Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. compete in an exhibition match at the Staples Center in Los Angeles – but an exhibition is all we will have. Both men in their fifties have concerns about their health, so the rules for this fight have been adjusted. No, this isn’t going to be a bloody 12-round slugfest like we’d hope for in a Rocky movie.
Andy Foster, executive director of the California State Athletic Commission, which protects the event, made this clear earlier this summer when the fight was settled – and said he spoke to both fighters about Zoom.
“I wanted your assurance that you would understand. I don’t care if they save. I don’t care if they work. In fact, they’re still world-class athletes. ‘
Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr will compete in a charity match in Los Angeles on Saturday night
“You have a right to earn and all of these things. They are about the same age. We cannot mislead the public that this is some kind of real fight. You can get into it a bit, but I don’t want people to get hurt. You know the deal. ‘
Don’t get hurt? In a fight? It’s hard to imagine that ‘The Baddest Man on the Planet’ in Tyson and four-weight world champion Jones Jr won’t harm each other at some point, but the restrictions placed on them may very well make this a glorified sparring match.
So what are the rules of the fight? Sportsmail breaks them all down and sets out what to expect on fight night.
However, both fighters will face a number of strange restrictions before the show fight
Jones Jr. has expressed concern about some rule changes as he prepares to face Tyson
Let’s start here because it’s a big deal and there has been some confusion.
“They’re going to save hard, but they shouldn’t go for a knockout,” says Foster.
“This is not a record fight. This is currently not a world championship boxing. It is not what it is. People shouldn’t be knocked out. The public can see what shape Roy and Mike are still in. ‘
But on Thursday, Ryan Kavanaugh of Triller, the broadcaster showing the fight, insisted that knockouts were indeed allowed.
He told Variety, “That Commissioner Andy (Foster) who explained this – I haven’t had a direct discussion with him, but the people who do have told us that he was trying to make a name for himself in a magazine do .
‘A knockout is allowed. We heard someone say that there are no knockouts. A knockout is totally legal … if someone bleeds the fight won’t stop.
‘(California State Athletic Commission, CSAC) approved the fight. You will have a referee there. The referee will oversee the bout under normal rules with a few exceptions. ‘
Mike Tyson has one of the scariest knockout rates ever, but none are allowed this time around
Jones Jr also had an impressive stopping record of 47 Ko in 66 professional fights
Given their age, it seems prudent to ban knockouts, but then it would undoubtedly detract from the spectacle if two of the sport’s greatest blows couldn’t go up in flames.
Throughout their careers, these men have been knockout artists – particularly ‘Iron Mike’. With 44 stoppages out of 50 fights, it was often used as a benchmark. Jones Jr. also had an impressive knockout rate – 47 out of 66 fights.
But both men are no longer as fit as they used to be, and there are fears that anyone hitting the deck could be seriously badly left behind.
However, you are wondering if Tyson or Jones Jr will open up to each other and have the opportunity to commit the murder – will they really not take it? UFC President Dana White wondered the same thing this week.
“You mustn’t take each other off? How do you get this through? I bet that won’t happen. Can you bet on it ‘
No ifs, no buts. If any of the fighters spills blood, the competition will be canceled.
“You can move around and make some money, but I told them, ‘If you get cut, it’s over,” said Foster.
Headguards are not required but must use 12 ounce gloves. This should offer more protection than the 10 ounce gloves often used in professional fights.
Cuts are so common in boxing that every fighter hires a man to mend them – and it’s a crucial role that can make the difference between winning and losing. The Cut-Man is not needed here, however.
The fight commission warned that if one of the fighters is cut off, it will be canceled
Jones Jr (right) and Tyson will both wear 12 ounce gloves for the duration of the competition
Unimpressed by the limitations, Tyson says he plans to use the skills he has improved since childhood, despite hinting that the competition could still be dangerous even without cuts or knockouts.
“We’re there to show our skills and we fight. I learned that in boxing when I was a little boy.
“When you sign this contract there is an unwritten clause that you can die at any time during training or combat.”
NO JUDGE RINGSIDE
So if there aren’t any officials on the ring, how do we know who’s winning the fight?
Well we won’t. No winner will be announced for this fight – it is an exhibition, after all.
You will be relieved to hear that there will be a referee in the ring to make sure that both men obey the rules – veteran Ray Corona – but no one will get it, not officially.
There will be one title on the line, however – the WBC Frontline Battle Belt. Still confused? Fortunately, Foster explains how it works – with former fighters Christy Martin, Vinny Pazienza and Chad Dawson as the remote jury.
Due to Covid fears, no judges will be present at the ring and no official winner will be announced
Former light heavyweight fighter Chad Dawson will be one of three removed judges
“No winner will be announced,” said Foster.
“I think that’s very important to get out of there. The WBC will have some prominent guest judges from afar, not officially, not 10-9 [scores], nothing like that. No cumulative score.
‘The unofficial scores are for entertainment only and are remotely performed by the WBC. Not by the commission because the commission did not recognize these judges because of COVID. It is for entertainment purposes only. ‘
While the prospect of no knockout games, bloody cuts, and no winner might disappoint fans, the fight is reported to have broken PPV pre-fight sales. This week Tyson produced a record breaking record.
He wrote: “Numbers don’t lie. Haters are crazy that they can’t get numbers like that. Saturday is calculating. Roy Jones Jr, you better be ready.”
The Commission’s top priority is to keep both fighters in good health, which means this will not go on for 12 rounds. Instead, it was decided to reduce the fight to eight rounds that last two minutes instead of three.
Although both fighters have accepted that they can’t deal a big blow to their opponent, fighting two-minute rounds did not go down well in either camp.
When Tyson was asked if he was disappointed with the shorter laps, he said, “Absolutely. I am sure they have their reasons for this. But it’s not about me, there is a charity [element] I’m just glad we did. ‘
There are eight rounds, each of which is reduced from three minutes to two minutes
Jones Jr. was even angrier when asked about the rule change, insisting that reducing the time in the ring would not reduce the risk, claiming it was simply “cheating the fans”.
“Why do we have to shoot two minutes? Why? If something is going to happen, it will happen anyway … two minutes, three minutes, five minutes. It doesn’t really matter.
“What difference does it make to us? Two minutes do nothing for him or me. To be honest, it cheats the fans.
The change didn’t go down well, and Jones Jr. claims it would give Tyson an edge
“It would give us a little more time to get a better shot than we could have in two minutes. Limiting it to three minutes was beneficial for everyone. ‘
He even claimed that he would be putting himself at greater risk by encountering a fresher Tyson, but reluctantly agreed to the measures and had to “work a little faster”.
“Everything is to his advantage, that is also to his advantage.
‘At this point the fans are so excited that I don’t want to pull the rug out from among the fans and they do [the organisers] will try to sue me.
He claimed Tyson would be “fresher” and more dangerous if the laps got shorter
“It’s not really worth it so I’ll play these two minute rounds, but I have to work a little faster than I expected.
‘You only made up your mind last week. They change things about me every week. I think I misread the memo. But what they don’t realize is that the longer you keep Mike fresh, the more dangerous it is to me.
“I have to brush up on Mike quickly so we can get out of this danger zone.”
You may have difficulty placing a bet on this fight.
Some betting markets have been drawn but bets are still being made even though no winner has been announced.
Sportsmail attempted to find betting odds for the fight at SkyBet, William Hill, Paddy Power and BetVictor and either received an error message or was informed that the betting event had been removed from the site.
Betfair said they offered odds on the fight but removed the bets “as there is uncertainty about how an outcome (if any) will be determined”.
It added that “a limited number of bets have already been placed and will stand until a result is announced”.
Some betting companies have removed the markets due to “uncertainty” about the outcome of the bout