The long awaited return of Mike Tyson to the boxing ring ended in a draw with former professional boxer Roy Jones Jr. In what was determined by many as an anticlimactic end to a highly anticipated exhibition, both fighters showed their age and rust in a bout that lasted eight rounds.
Leading up to the fight, experts and fans alike predicted Tyson would run away with a victory after several impressive practice videos and general confidence in his fighting ability, though he was more than a decade removed from his last match. Tyson himself seemed surprised at this amount of support, commenting after the match that people should have been more worried about him than Jones, as Jones has fought more recently than Tyson.
The strategies of each fighter were evident from the beginning of the fight. Tyson’s team appeared to be more confident in the ferocity of his early round form than in long term endurance. Jones, anticipating this barrage, clung to Tyson through several rounds and put more stock into his performance in the later rounds. Tyson landed more clean punches and strikes, all of which came in the beginning of the fight. His aim was consistently at Jones body rather than any straight knockout hooks or punches.
The strategy of testing Jones’ strength and endurance worked. Jones was worn down at the top of the fifth round, though he got off some decent combinations that held him up to a draw at the end of the match.
There was a ton of debate online about the results of the match. Many spectators, both professional boxing experts and regular fans, were disappointed with the performance of both fighters, but more so with the result of a draw. Experts took to Twitter to express their dissatisfaction with the judges and widely confirmed Tyson as the clear victor on their scorecards. Tyson landed more heavy shots than Jones Jr. but was content with the draw and seemed to be impressed with his performance and fighting ability despite his age. Jones Jr. was admittedly less pleased with the outcome of a draw and the scorecards of the judges, believing himself to be the winner.
Much of the media coverage of the Tyson and Jones Jr. bout is centering on Tyson smoking marijuana before the match. Tyson admitted to smoking without embarrassment or concern, saying that smoking helps numb him. Another interesting spot in the blockbuster exhibition was the commentating of rapper Snoop Dogg who helped to add some entertainment to the fight.
Speculation about Tyson’s future in boxing after this return has continued to flare despite his efforts in this draw. Fans should look for another exhibition appearance from the boxing legend, but not any competitive event. Tyson favors the charitable effect of his fights and is not looking for any further accolades. As a fighter, he is far from any real chance at contention and wouldn’t want to stain the legacy of his career as one of the all-time greats. Tyson’s current prospects look to be rematches with rival Evander Holyfield and Roy Jones Jr. Both opponents will likely face a better, resurgent Tyson who now has a fair bit of experience under his belt — not to mention plain drive and inspiration to incorporate boxing into his life again.