The Match Worked For Mike Tyson But Not For Boxing

Saturday night’s Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. pay–per-view numbers reportedly surpassed one million buys. In this era of boxing and entertainment that is an item. Though their legends fight will not break an all-time PPV record and surpass Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor, it shows something.

It shows putting two legends and boxing Hall of Famers in the ring again will draw a crowd. Then again, you are talking about Mike Tyson who has always electrified a crowd as that all-time popular heavyweight fighter along with the great Muhammad Ali.

And the demographics will show that an evening of entertainment, with star studded rap stars and Snoop Dog, brought in some numbers. And YouTube sensation JaKe Paul with a huge following helped.

Paul, pursuing a boxing career, scored a second round KO over Nate Robinson the former NY Knick and slam dunk champion who laid motionless on the made and caused a concern.

It goes to show, Saturday night in a closed door venue of the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. had an exhibition and an eight-round draw that was pure entertainment. Two minute rounds, three judges at ringside that decided who was the winner.

And after the result there was a buzz. They can do this legends concept again and again. Remember, though, it won’t be Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr, again on pay-per-view.

There is a difference without the name of Mike Tyson. Former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis has reportedly said that he would like to be the next in line at finishing business with his rival Riddick Bowe.

Lewis and 53-year old Bowe, from Brooklyn, well they have unfinished business and made news years ago over the WBC heavyweight title. Bowe put the WBC title in a trash can and of course it was about logistics and money.

Lewis would retire and become an esteemed boxing television commentator with HBO and now with the PBC.

You get the idea. Bringing legends and Hall of Famers back in the ring is the new thing and you can guarantee that a ton of others, assuming they are not a safety risk will follow.

But this is not healthy for a sport that has been thriving with young and good stars that have borne in a new excitement for the loyal boxing fan. Tyson and Jones, because of their names brought in numbers for nostalgic purposes

They saw an interest from the mainstream fan that lived the exciting and troubled years of Mike Tyson, then the youngest to win the heavyweight championship. Jones, 51- years old, the accomplished proud holder of the heavyweight title and first to do that as a light heavyweight champion.

So back to Saturday. Former champions Christie Martin, Vinnie Pazienza and Chad Dawson, unofficially came out of this with no controversy as the judges at ringside. No points rendered, no knockdowns. Just a draw that was rendered.

But, please don’t do it again and fool the public that 50-year old Hall of Famers are still capable of taking a punch. Perhaps another time when both were legitimate champions this would have worked.

But during a global pandemic this worked. For boxing, except for the WBC, which sanctioned a legends title, this doesn’t work. Fortunately Tyson and Jones came out of this without getting injured. And for the sake of the sport, I can only ask don’t do this again.

More so, boxing has managed to survive during the pandemic. The sport is relatively healthy. Last week welterweight champion Terence Crawford defended his title against Kell Brook on ESPN in a fight that drew the second highest ratings of a boxing telecast during the pandemic.

A month passed., Teofimo Lopez and Vasiliy Lomachencko were the top rated telecasts also on the Top Rank ESPN telecast. Lopez, is one of those young and good stars of the sport and unified most of the lightweight titles.

Those are the fights we need to see. So dishing out $54.00 for a pay-per-view works with nostalgia, as this was. Instead, coughing up a $70.00 purchase of a legitimate championship fight Saturday.with the welterweight championship up for grabs between Errol Spence Jr. and Damy Garcia would be the better buy.

My point, we need to see the current core of rising stars and champions. Boxing does not need an Oldtimers Day in the ring as we witnessed on a Thriller fight promotion that saw Tyson earn a reported $10 million and Jones picking up $3.5 million.

Again, fortunate both did not get hurt. Though, the stamina showed two 50-year olds who no longer belong in the ring.

I had my doubts that there would be a buzz for this. Afterwards, Tyson said, they should do it again but after the decision was rendered it was Mike Tyson and challenged Jones to do it again.

Though,Tyson, 54 years old, didn’t have the power punches. In the middle rounds Tyson lost his stamina. Jones by the middle rounds had no stamina.

TYSON 67 (35)/193 10 (0)/56 57 (35)/137 34.7% 17.9% 41.6% JONES 37 (4)/236 9 (0)/85 28 (4)/151 15.7% 10.6% 18.5% Tyson clearly the stronger fighter. Tyson outlanded Jones 67-37 in total punches. (Courtesy Compubox)

Let’s face it, you weren’t expecting to see two fighters who should have done this years ago as good as they were in their prime.

But Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. had me fooled. And the pay-per-view numbers showed legends will have another time in the ring for an exhibition and night of entertainment.

Comment: Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso Watch Sports With Rich on YouTube. Like, comment, subscribe.

Photo: Zumapress/Icon Sportswire

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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