Mike Tyson (54) marked his return to the ring with a convincing comeback on Saturday night, even if he was held to a draw by 51-year-old Roy Jones Jr.
Awaited with feverish excitement by boxing lovers, the Tyson-Jones exhibition bout was no disappointment. Although neither was declared the winner after eight two-minute rounds – a match length that turned out to be reasonable, despite the original protests of the protagonists – the two fighters proved that they still had some punch in them.
Despite the “exhibition” framework defined by the California State Athletic Commission, CSAC, anxious to safeguard their physical integrity, the two boxers, bolstered by months of preparation and cleared by drug tests, lived up to their promise to put up a “real fight.”
Highlights of the match included a Jones jab that landed flush on Tyson’s face in Round 2, two pounding left hooks from Tyson to body and temple in the 5th, and the blows Tyson landed after the 3rd round bell, prompting him to apologise immediately, and rest his victim’s head “tenderly” on his shoulder.
At the announcement of the referee’s decision, Tyson appeared much fresher than Jones Jr., who was still bathed in sweat and, as he admitted, exhausted by body blows that wore him out.
Tyson for his part, noted that his adversary had stood up to the hammering and he respected that. Satisfied by the result, Tyson said after the fight that he would likely do it again.
The match was staged behind closed doors, due to the coronavirus pandemic, so there were no shouting fans in the stands of the Los Angeles Staples Centre, and none of the electricity in the air that usually characterises top-flight matches.