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Coach says Mike Tyson aiming to knock out Roy Jones Jr. despite rules: ‘No one spars a full month for an exhibition’

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Mike Tyson will put the gloves back on for his first boxing match in 15 years
Photo via Rafael Cordeiro

Mike Tyson knocked out 44 opponents during his legendary boxing career from 1985 to 2005, and appears to be aiming for the same outcome in his upcoming clash with fellow veteran Roy Jones Jr. in Los Angeles on Nov. 28, even if the official ruleset suggests a different scenario.

According to the California State Athletic Commission, Tyson vs. Jones Jr. is nothing but an exhibition match. The entity expects both boxers to not seek a stoppage during the eight two-minute rounds. There should be no winner either, as the judges will not be issuing an official scorecard.

For Rafael Cordeiro, a longtime MMA and muay Thai coach who earlier this year was assigned the mission of getting Tyson back in shape for his return to boxing, the 54-year-old “Iron Mike” won’t hold back.

“Two legends in the ring, they both are going for the finish,” Cordeiro said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “The fight has three judges [sic] and a referee, so it’s a real fight and must have a winner. It’s no longer an exhibition, someone has to win. We’ll try to win from start to finish. … Mike is not going there for an exhibition, he’s going there to fight.”

A no-knockout rule would be difficult to enforce, especially when you have someone like former heavyweight champion Tyson in a ring, but CSAC executive director Andy Foster said “they shouldn’t be going for a knockout.”

“We’re on a sparring week in the gym and that’s it,” Cordeiro said 16 days before the pay-per-view event. “That’s something he really enjoys. No one spars a full month for an exhibition. It will be a real fight. We respect Roy because Roy is coming for a real fight, and that’s what makes this match so different. They are both coming for a real fight.”

In his prime, fans would always tune in for a Mike Tyson match wondering how long it would take for him to knock his opponent out as 23 of his professional wins came inside one round. Training three times a day for the past few months, the veteran hasn’t lost his hunger.

Back to the ring 15 years after his last match, a sixth-round defeat to Kevin McBride, Tyson “will always try to drop his opponent as fast as possible,” Cordeiro said, “but, if the fight goes eight rounds, that’s good, he has cardio for that.

“But the plan is to get in and not walk away from that Mike Tyson essence. (The essence) is there and no one can take it away. If he has the opportunity and realizes (Jones Jr.) felt it, he’ll go for the knockout.”

Cordeiro felt honored when Tyson’s business partner Rob Hickman, CEO of Tyson Ranch, reached out earlier this year about training the boxing legend. Proud of Tyson’s evolution and commitment—and excited to prove an MMA coach can succeed in the boxing world— Cordeiro doesn’t believe this is a one-and-done for Tyson.

“This will be the first of many,” Cordeiro said. “He wants to continue being active, he wants to continue fighting. He’s leading the Legends Only League in the United States, he will be the face of this organization. We’ll see Mike Tyson in action again next year.”

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