Mike Tyson will step into the boxing ring for the first time in 15 years this fall, taking on former multi-division champion Roy Jones Jr. in an eight round exhibition on September 12 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. The fight will be aired on Pay Per View, as well as the Triller platform, which will also broadcast a 10-part docuseries leading up to the bout, according to ESPN.
“It’s because I can do it, and I believe other people believe they can do it to,” Tyson told ESPN’s First Take Thursday. Just because we are 54, it doesn’t mean that we have to start a new career and our lives are totally over. Not when you feel as beautiful as I do, and I’m sure that other people feel the same way.”
“I never took that many punches. After the last fight I had, I left and I lived my life, and I’ve been through some experiences, and now I’m back here. I feel like I took better care of my body and my state of mind than most of the fighters before me that retired and came back.”
— Mike Tyson (@MikeTyson) July 23, 2020
Mike Tyson compiled a career record of 50-6, rocketing to the top of the heavyweight division under the tutelage of trainer Cus D’Amato, winning his first 19 professional fights by knockout. He won the WBC title in 1986, adding the WBA and IBF belts in 1987, reigning as the undisputed champion until a shocking loss to Buster Douglass in 1990. Tyson would see prison time in the 1990s after an Indiana conviction on rape charges, beginning a series of controversies that would dog his career. He would regain the WBA and WBC titles in his return to the ring, but later saw his boxing license revoked by the Nevada state boxing commission after a 1997 fight against Evander Holyfield that saw him bite (and sever) the other boxer’s ear. He fought into the 2000s, retiring after a loss to Kevin McBride.
Jones, who is 51, went 66-9 as a professional, with his last fight coming in 2018. During one 10-year run, Jones won 36 of 37 fights, capturing titles in the 160, 168 and 175 pound divisions, then taking the WBA heavyweight title with a unanimous decision defeat of John Ruiz in 2003.
“I’ve been trying to enjoy retirement, but people don’t seem to want to let me retire,” Jones said. “They keep calling me, telling me that Mike wants to come back, and that you’d be a great opponent for Mike.
“We always wanted to see it, but I would’ve preferred it back then. Tyson is a hell of a specimen still. Still a problem to deal with. But at the same time, life is life, you only live once. You want to know what it’s like, you go in there and see. You still gotta see it.”
The specifics of the fight – particularly how much it will cost to stream and whether or not any tickets will even attempt to be sold amid the pandemic, have not yet been discussed. According to Bleacher Report, both fighters will be wearing 12-ounce gloves, rather than the 10-ounce ones heavyweights wear in non-exhibition fights. “This isn’t a situation where they’re going out there to try to take each other’s heads off,” California State Athletic Commission Executive Director Andy Foster said. “They’re just going to be in there moving around the ring and letting fans see these legends.”