The sport of boxing will be in the spotlight this weekend, for better or worse. Mike Tyson will face off against Roy Jones, Jr. as the headline fight of a seven-fight card at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.
Five of the seven fights offer legitimate competition, while the Tyson vs. Jones and Jake Paul vs. Nate Robinson leave us scratching our heads a bit. Paul vs. Robinson is a sanctioned traditional fight, but Tyson vs. Jones is being described as an exhibition fight.
The California State Athletic Commission has sanctioned the fight, but their commissioners have repeatedly stated this is not meant to be viewed as an overly competitive fight. The fight is scheduled for eight rounds with the boxers using 12-ounce gloves and fighting two-minute rounds. The hope is slightly heavier gloves and shorter rounds will prevent either fighter from significantly hurting the other.
As part of that, the CSAC has made it clear the ref is to stop the fight if either fighter suffers a cut. That is relatively clear, but it’s still not entirely clear how much Tyson and Jones will attempt to go after each other.
“Listen, I don’t know what you’re talking about that it’s not a real fight,” Tyson said. “It’s Mike Tyson and Roy Jones and I’m coming to fight and I hope he’s coming to fight. That’s all you need to know.”
Jones doubled down on the thinking, stating, “First of all, if you think you’re going to get in the ring with Mike Tyson, the last guy to get an ‘exhibition’ with Mike got dropped in the first round. If you don’t know that, there’s something wrong with you. Who goes in the ring with the great, legendary Mike Tyson and thinks, ‘Oh, this is an exhibition’? 12-ounce gloves? No headgear? Really? This is an exhibition? Come on, bro. Be real.”
A cut is easy to access and make a decision. Whether or not the fighters are getting a little too squirrelly is another question entirely. I suspect the ref will air on the side of caution, but I suspect we see a few haymakers before this thing is over.