The Blandness Of Mike Tyson Vs Roy Jones Jr.

It wasn’t the end of the world. There were times where it wasn’t even terrible. That’s the sum of what you can say that’s complimentary about 50-something legends Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. fighting to a draw in a heavyweight exhibition Saturday night. At least it was better than the other celebrity boxing match on the card? So, new tally: That’s now three backhanded compliments.

With large gloves, no winner (the fight was scored a draw) and no sign that anyone was treating this as anything more than what it was — a glorified sparring match for a long-ago fantasy fight — we got a dispassionate battle where each man got to do the things that made them famous, a little. Tyson bobbed in and landed thudding blows, often to Jones’ midsection. Jones connected on flashy punches like a no-look jab. Tyson did more and should’ve won, not that it matters at all.

When we got those moments of Tyson being Tyson and Jones being Jones, they constituted the aforementioned times where “it wasn’t even terrible.” A lot of the rest of it was. Jones really wasn’t feeling the whole “stand around and punch each other” thing, his legs not what they used to be and Tyson chasing him in a small-looking ring. So, he too often made it the opposite of a boxing match: He hugged and snuggled Tyson every chance he got to either smother offense, get some rest or both.

This dispassionate prose is the result. Surely this reads like something written under duress, as if by a sense of obligation. It’s not a fight that deserves much oxygen or analysis, really. It has zero ramifications on the sport itself. Let’s see about ending this one early, shall we?

  • Jake Paul vs Nate Robinson was a gross fiasco. The referee’s misdeeds are well-examined here.
  • Whose idea was it to throw a legit, currently relevant fighter on a card that was otherwise pure spectacle? And who thought: “That boxer needs to be Badou Jack, who’s 1-2-2 in his last five bouts?” (OK, prospect Jamaine Ortiz was on the card, too, but the point stands.)
  • Some people seemed to get a kick out of Snoop Dogg’s commentary. Those people apparently are only missing physical company during a boxing match from a person who doesn’t have anything useful to say about the sport. Hey, boxing’s communal and if you were rooting for Jones, Snoop was the live commentary stand-in for an at-home cheering section.
  • Tyson smoked weed just before the fight. That’s it. That’s the sentence.

(Roy Jones Jr., left, Mike Tyson, right, both about to pass out; photo via)

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.