Mike Tyson returns to the ring for the first time in over 15 years on Saturday night to take on former four-division world champion Roy Jones Jr in an eight round exhibition bout.
Tyson, 54, did enter the ring for ‘Mike Tyson’s World Tour’ after his professional career came to an end with defeat to Kevin McBride in 2005, but facing a fellow former champion in Jones Jr over eight rounds represents a huge step up from that particular venture.
Jones Jr claimed the WBA heavyweight world title in 2003 with a points win over John Ruiz but spent the majority of his career at middleweight and cruiserweight level. The 51-year-old did fight professionally as recently as 2018 though, and should provide Tyson with a huge test on Saturday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Power on Tyson’s Side
Tyson has been regularly posting training updates on social media and looks to be in a good place in terms of his condition, but until he actually steps into the ring, it really does remain to be seen just how he will cope over the distance against Jones Jr.
However, Iron Mike clearly still possesses real power and the old adage of ‘the last thing a boxer loses is his punch’ does tend to ring true. Tyson always retained that power even as he was coming towards the twilight of his career and if he does manage to land with purpose on Jones Jr on Saturday then that could well bring an early end to this contest.
Tyson is the
4/9 favourite to win on Saturday, and if you are planning on backing the former WBA, WBC and IBC heavyweight king, then a win inside the distance could be the way to go.
The Case for Jones Jr
If this were a match-up between a Mike Tyson in his prime and a Roy Jones Jr in his prime, there would only be one winner. Jones Jr may be technically the better boxer, but Tyson had the raw power that simply used to blow opponents away before they’d even got going.
However, this is a very different sort of contest and with that in mind, there are a few reasons for optimism if you are planning on backing ‘Junior’ to claim bragging rights on Saturday.
The former undisputed light heavyweight champion boasts incredible handspeed and if he has anywhere near the kind of movement and reflexes he possessed earlier in his career will be a real handful for Tyson on Saturday.
Jones Jr is the
7/4 underdog but if he can weather the early storm that is surely coming his way he may well be able to outlast Tyson and pick up the win, either via a late stoppage or on points.
*All odds correct at time of writing