Former heavyweight champions Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. vowed at an official press conference recently, ahead of their November 28 fight in Los Angeles, that both men are training as hard as they did in their primes for their upcoming match.
“I looked at film of Roy when he was at his best because that’s the guy I anticipate fighting,” Tyson said. “I’m in the best shape. I boxed seven rounds so far, and it keeps improving. I’m boxing younger guys and hungry guys, and it’s showing me that, from the looks of things, I’m doing really well.”
Tyson also stressed that he has spared as much as seven full rounds against younger opponents in his training camp for this contest.
“I am the only boss,” he said, referring to his sparring partners. “If you don’t kick my ass, you’re fired. Everyone’s doing their best and if you are not doing your best, you got to go home.”
Tyson also appeared disappointed about the shortened two-minute rounds for this fight, as did Roy Jones, Jr. Professional men’s boxing uses three-minute rounds. Women’s fights use two-minute rounds. Some fights involving senior fighters or certain exhibitions may also use one-minute rounds.
This fight will be contested over eight two-minute rounds as per the rules of the California State Athletic Commission. Both men stressed the smaller, 12-ounce gloves and lack of headgear as part of the reason that, from their perspective, this is no exhibition. The winner will be awarded a “Frontline Battle” Belt by the World Boxing Council.
While age may not have softened their desire to win, both men seemed to take a humbler approach when describing his new opponent. Tyson offered that he had turned down offers to face 47-year-old MMA legend and former NFL player Bob Sapp and 48-year-old title contender Shannon Briggs before finding a worthy challenge in Roy Jones, Jr. Tyson also confirmed rumors that the two had once discussed a potential fight in 2003 at a face-to-face meeting in Texas.
Jones offered similar praise of Tyson as one of boxing’s hardest punchers. Jones described the fight as “bucket list” material.
“Everywhere I go in life, young kids always ask me if I ever fought Mike Tyson. And now I’ll be able to say, Yes I did.’”
Triller will live the stream the match on its streaming service and the fight will be available around the globe on a variety of pay-per-view platforms. The organizers also used the press conference to announce the fight will take place at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, the nominal home of the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers and the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings.
Earlier this year, the Los Angeles Lakers won an NBA championship without the use of their home court. Due to the novel coronavirus, the event had not had a live sports event since early March when the Los Angeles King’a played there.
As things stand, the venue will not admit fans, but, the staging of the event in such a prestigious venue may pave the way for fans later if the conditions improve. The fight had previously been scheduled for an outdoor venue in nearby Carson, CA. No reason for the change in venue was announced, leading to speculation that the change could allow live fans to return, albeit wearing a facemask.
Tyson last boxed in a 2006 exhibition fight against Corrie Sanders. Roy Jones, Jr. last boxed in 2018, when he won a fringe German cruiserweight title against Scott Sigmon. While Tyson has pledged to stage more bouts following this one, Roy Jones, Jr. was coyer.
“I usually judge it how I feel that night,” he said.
(Edited by Matt Rasnic and Jason Reed)