Roy Jones Jr. never imagined he’d still be fighting at 51 but he’s certainly looking to make the most of his return to action this weekend against Mike Tyson.
The highly anticipated exhibition bout will see Jones Jr. compete for the first time since 2018 while Tyson hasn’t participated in a sanctioned fight in over 15 years.
Both boxers have poured a lot of time and energy into preparation for their eight-round bout this weekend but it’s still anybody’s guess as to what to actually expect when they set foot in the ring together.
For his part, Jones Jr. believes Tyson will be head-hunting and gunning for a knockout just like he did during his reign as heavyweight champion. In those days, Tyson was obliterating opponents like Trevor Berbick and Michael Spinks in devastating fashion with highlight reel knockouts that still get played today.
“I’m expecting that early Mike because he’s rejuvenated,” Jones Jr. said at the pre-fight media day. “He’s been out 15 years. He knows what it’s like to miss boxing. He realizes what he had and he’s seeking to get that back now. Because when he fought the last few fights he fought, he wasn’t really in a mindset of being who he once was. His mindset dwindled. The fire had dwindled.
“Now the fire is back. Now he has a desire to want to come out and be who he once was, do what he knew he once could do. With that being said, you’ve got to expect a good Mike to come. You’ve got to think about it, I seen Mike probably about two years ago. He looked like he was about almost 250 pounds. Now he’s 220. You don’t think he’s serious?”
A lot has been made going into the exhibition bout regarding the rules enacted by the California State Athletic Commission in order to sanction Tyson and Jones Jr. to compete this weekend with a combined age of 105 years old.
As CSAC executive director Andy Foster laid out earlier this week when speaking to MMA Fighting, the bout will be contested for eight rounds at two minutes each, both boxers will wear 12-ounce gloves and there will be no sanctioned judges scoring the bout with no winner announced afterwards. While the WBC will employ “celebrity” judges to help declare a winner, the bout is being contested under exhibition rules for the health and safety of both competitors.
“For us, we don’t ever look at it like it’s not real,” Jones Jr. said about the rules for the bout. “He knows I’m Roy Jones. Roy Jones come out there to do you bad. I know he’s Mike Tyson. Mike Tyson comes to take you out.
“So it’s like to us, none of that counts. We don’t hear what they say. We don’t even what the commission says. It’s not our job. Our job is to go out and do what we do.”
If everything plays out the way he hopes, Jones Jr. isn’t plotting a full fledged comeback to the ring but there are still interesting opponents he’d be willing to face like former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
Jones Jr. and Silva has both said repeatedly that they’d like to fight each other and now it appears that fantasy fight might actually become reality. Silva was just recently released from his UFC contract after suffering a TKO loss to Uriah Hall and Jones Jr. believes that might finally open up the door to let their fight happen.
“If this goes well tonight, I’m almost positive that will probably be the next thing we do,” Jones Jr. said about facing Silva. “Because he’s been wanting it. I’ve been wanting it. This has got to go great first.”