The eight-round exhibition between returning legends Mike Tyson and Roy Jones ended in a disputed ‘draw’ at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Saturday night.
‘Iron Mike’ appeared to do enough with his expected aggression and stout bodywork but the three former fighters turned judges for the night were split on the outcome.
Women’s boxing pioneer Christy Martin scored 79-73 Tyson, two-weight champ Vinny Pazienza favoured former foe Jones 80-77 whilst former 175lbs king Chad Dawson couldn’t split them at 76-76.
Thankfully, there were no health concerns for the veteran boxers with Tyson, 54, and Jones, 51, later toying with the possibility of a rematch.
“I’m good with a draw, because I entertained the crowd, the crowd was happy with it,” Tyson told reporter Jim Gray afterwards. “We need to do this again. I used to do this for three minutes. Somehow, those two minutes felt like three minutes. I’m just happy I got this under my belt and will continue to go further.
“You took it,” Tyson told Jones. “You took it and you kept coming back. I respect that.”
Jones added: “I ain’t ever satisfied with a draw. I wear draws, I don’t do draws. I like him, but the dude is so strong, man. I understand why people say fighting Mike Tyson is [on their] bucket list. When he hits you, your head, your body, it all hurts. For me, I thought I did enough boxing to edge it out. The body shots definitely took a toll. The body shots are what made me exhausted.
“Everybody loves Mike; I love Mike, too. But it’s something taking punches from Mike. I’ll go talk to my family and see how they feel about [a rematch]. If they thought they enjoyed what they saw and want me to come back and do it again, then we’ll do it again.”
Fought over two-minute rounds with oversized gloves, Jones used his feet in the first two rounds, clinching whenever Tyson worked his way inside. ‘Iron Mike’ caught Jones with a right hand after the bell to end the second round but apologised with a hug.
Jones was stunned but not cut by a head clash early in round three and referee Ray Corona called time to allow him to recover. After pinning his man to the ropes, Tyson hurt Jones with his body work in the fourth. Jones reeled off a four-punch combination in the fifth but was having trouble keeping Tyson at bay.
The sixth was fought on more even terms with Jones’ jab more prevalent and the four-weight champion enjoyed a bright seventh by virtue of his mobility and brisk combinations for a man in his Fifties.
Tyson looked for a late knockout, but a playful Jones ghosted out of the way to gleefully hear the final bell. After months of hype, charity was the winner.
On the undercard, former two-weight world champion Badou Jack (23-3-3, 13 KOs) pounded out a clear 80-72 decision over a resilient Blake McKernan (13-1, 6 KOs) at 175lbs whilst YouTuber turned fighter Jake Paul scored a heavy second round KO of former NBA star Nate Robinson at cruiser. After registering knockdowns in the first and second rounds, Paul (2-0, 2 KOs) knocked Robinson (0-1) cold with an overhand right.