It was impossible to know what to expect when Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. stepped into the ring to do battle with both fighters over 50 years of age.
What resulted was a highly entertaining eight round exhibition that saw Tyson display his signature punching power and Jones Jr. doing his absolute best to avoid those shots with fast counters and quick footwork. While the bout was not officially scored, the WBC provided three celebrity judges — Christy Martin, Chad Dawson and Vinny Pazienza — who declared the bout a draw after eight rounds.
“I’m good with that,” Tyson said about the scoring. “Yeah but I’m good with a draw.”
Exhibition or not, Tyson was throwing some serious heat behind his punches while going after Jones Jr. from the start of the opening round. The best shots early came from Tyson going to the body as he looked to rattle Jones Jr. and wear him down.
In return, Jones Jr. was doing his best to stay light on his feet with a quick jab and then moving away from Tyson’s power. Jones Jr. also employed a clinch heavy style in order to wear on Tyson’s body to see how much conditioning the former heavyweight champion had ready for an eight round affair.
As the fight moved into the third and fourth rounds, Tyson was charging forward with his signature aggression while launching lefts and rights with bad intentions behind every shot.
While Tyson was best known for his jaw-rattling knockout power, it was actually his body shots that were seemingly doing the most damage. He connected with a pair of hard punches in the fourth stanza that had Jones Jr. flinching as he retreated to the corner.
With time ticking away into the final rounds, Tyson was clearly the fresher fighter while Jones Jr. was doing his best to slow down his power-punching opponent by clinching whenever he had the opportunity. The explosiveness from Tyson was still frightening whenever he unleashed his shots, popping Jones Jr. with several stiff left hands to the head.
Tyson continued to blast away at the body as he sought to punish Jones Jr. until the final bell. The final punch thrown was another Tyson hook to Jones Jr.’s ribs as the eight round exhibition came to a close.
It appeared that Tyson had done enough to win — at least based on the typical scoring criteria — but the celebrity judges ultimately called the bout a draw.
“Hell no. I’m never satisfied with a draw,” Jones Jr. said after the decision was announced. “The dude is so strong. The body shots definitely took a toll.”
The spectacle on Saturday night certainly got a lot of attention but more than anything Tyson and Jones Jr. showed up to fight with both boxers ready to put on a show. Afterwards, Tyson promised that he will stay active with more exhibition bouts planned for the future.
“I’m just happy I got this under my belt,” Tyson said. “I’m continuing to go further and do more. Absolutely [I’ll do this again].”
Jones Jr. wasn’t quite ready to declare that he’ll return to action after this latest clash but Tyson was quick to tell him “we gotta do this again.”