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Jones Jr. vs. Tyson in 2020 is just crazy

by MAC ENGEL FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM | July 27, 2020 at 2:02 a.m.

DALLAS -- On behalf of anyone over the age of 40 who watched Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. in their prime, take my credit card and three-digit security code so you can watch these two "fight" on pay-per-view.

Like a second "Top Gun" and a third "Bad Boys," nostalgia is a multi-billion sector of the entertainment industry, which now includes two old guys stepping into a ring they should be outside of forever.

They can't give it up, which is equal parts charming, sad and inspiring.

Tyson and Jones Jr. will fight for the simple fact that not enough people want to acknowledge: Boxing can be as addictive as any illegal drug, and these are guys who can't give it up.

But agreeing to an eight-round fight with Tyson -- especially when you're giving up 40 pounds -- is crazy.

"I agree," Jones Jr. said in an interview on Friday in Dallas where he was making a promotional appearance at Montoya's Boxing Gym. "I agree 100 percent."

I asked Roy Jones Jr. why do it.

"Something called heart," he said. "Mike Tyson? I can't say no. You know what that looks like if I turned it down?"

Uhh ... smart?

Jones is the rare dude who is 51, yet looks 38. He's going to fight Tyson on Sept. 12 in Carson, Calif., in a place aptly named Dignity Health Sports Park.

This will not be a fight. This will be two guys over 50 who are in peak condition for their age, trying to do the activity they love.

Tyson is 54, although if you've watched him workout on any social media clips these days there are glimpses of the fighter who was the most feared man on the planet.

Jones has not fought since 2018. Tyson has not had a bout since 2005, which is two years before the first iPhone was sold. Think about that.

The fighters are expected to use 12-ounce gloves, and headgear will not be required. What could possibly go wrong?

"Eight rounds, you're in there with a killer named Mike Tyson," Jones Jr. said.

Jones Jr. said he and Tyson kicked this idea around for the last three or four months. The announcement was made a few days ago.

Since it's 2020, we can't have a sporting event without a behind-the-scenes, all-access documentary. There will be a 10-part show about the two men leading up to the fight. Expect either Ensure or a shuffleboard manufacturer to be the title sponsor.

"I never looked like a coward in my whole career," Jones Jr. said. "I'm going to run from Mike Tyson because he's big?"

Now that you mention it, yes.

"No, I'm going to run to him," he said. "I don't run from no one. That's not what I stand for. My motivation is that Mike Tyson challenged me and that's good enough."

The last time Jones Jr. fought was 2018, a win over someone named Scott Sigmon.

The last time Tyson fought was 15 years ago when somebody named Kevin McBride needed only six rounds to wipe the floor with Iron Mike. After beating Tyson, McBride fought eight more times in his pro career, winning twice.

Jones Jr., who fought mostly as a light heavyweight, should be regarded as one of the best fighters of any era. His problem was he was not a heavyweight, and he did not emasculate opponents the way Tyson did.

I asked him if he wanted to do it, or if he needed to do it.

Justified speculation about money problems follows any fighter who keeps entering the ring.

"I didn't need to do it," Jones Jr said. "The only other guy I would have done it for was Bernard Hopkins, but that would not have been an exhibition. That would have been for real. Everybody else I would not have come out of retirement."

He's coming out retirement again. His plan is, again, for this to be his last fight.

There are two ways to look at Tyson vs, Jones Jr., or a sequel to "Top Gun", 34 years after the original. It's a pathetic cash grab by stars who can't move on, or it's a fun nostalgia bath.

Like a second "Top Gun", sign me up for Tyson vs. Jones Jr. knowing neither will be as good as the original.


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