Last week’s Big Question dealt with the future at Golden Boy Promotions, who are hurting for a big headline drawing card with the departure of Canelo Alvarez. It figures that the first up to the plate will be Ryan Garcia and Vergil Ortiz.
29% of you think Garcia will be The Guy going forward for GBP, but Ortiz had his support at 27%, too. The best outcome for Golden Boy also got the most votes by a bit: 30% feel that both Garcia and Ortiz will become major stars. Only 14% felt neither young fighter will reach a top star level.
This week, we turn our attention to one of the biggest events of the boxing year: 54-year-old Mike Tyson taking on 51-year-old Roy Jones Jr in an exhibition bout. I would like to immediately apologize to the PR people here, who don’t want it to be called an exhibition bout. But it’s not sanctioned by the California State Athletic Commission and it doesn’t count on their records, and CSAC’s Andy Foster has said he’s instructed everyone not to go beyond “hard sparring.”
But, of course, Tyson and Jones say differently, and they do so with some real resentment. Maybe that’s just because calling it an exhibition will harm sales if they come right out and say it, too. And the WBC have done their part to legitimize the fight; the eight-round bout will be scored, and there will be a belt that the WBC have made up for the fight on the line. One can only hope Tyson and Jones aren’t actually paying sanctioning fees on it.
How to Watch Tyson vs Jones
Date: Saturday, Nov. 28 | Start Time: 9:00 pm ET
Location: Staples Center - Los Angeles, CA
TV: PPV ($49.99) | Stream: FITE TV PPV ($49.99)
Live Online Coverage: BadLeftHook.com
Tyson (50-6, 44 KO) hasn’t fought professionally since 2005, after he dropped back-to-back stoppage losses to Danny Williams and Kevin McBride, the sort of opponents he’d have absolutely demolished in not just his prime, but even five years prior. This is no big knock on Tyson; not only do all fighters get old, but Mike’s heart clearly was no longer in the sport at all.
Jones (66-9, 47 KO) was the pound-for-pound king for a spell, and won world titles at 160, 168, 175, and heavyweight. (He also claims a cruiserweight title, but he did not win any of the four recognized major cruiserweight titles. He never even fought for one.) Unlike Tyson, Jones didn’t really lose his love of the game — if anything, he may have found as he aged that he loved it more than he ever thought, and didn’t retire until 2018, long past his prime years, going out on four straight wins over very limited opponents following an ugly knockout loss to Enzo Maccarinelli in 2015.
Let’s not ignore one thing: Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr are bona fide boxing legends, both of them the absolute real deal. These are true first-ballot, no-doubt Hall of Fame icons of the sport. Tyson is one of the biggest global sports stars ever, and while Jones maybe was never that PPV mega-draw, he was one of the true anchors of HBO boxing, which was the sport’s premium brand for a long time.
And both guys have looked in great shape. Tyson has had a big physical transformation, losing a lot of weight over the years, and seems like a happy man in general these days, which is very nice to see. Jones has always stayed in good ring shape; he’s naturally put on some weight over the years as he’s aged, as happens to the vast majority of us, but Roy’s always fit.
There is a pull here for sure. These are names. These are stars. These are kings of the sport.
And they’re in their 50s. And what, exactly, the fight will look like and turn out to be is still in question.
If they go full-on, will it get broken up? If they don’t go full-on, how furious is the paying public going to be? If they get broken up, will chaos break out at Staples Center?
This is a $50 pay-per-view. The undercard has some intrigue for, uh, YouTube fans, I guess, as Jake Paul will face former NBA player Nate Robinson in a six-round bout. (It seems pretty questionable that the “YouTube Boxing” thing ever panned out as far as making money for the people who backed it.)
We’ll also see former pro titleholder Badou Jack take on Blake McKernan, a club fighter from Sacramento, in an eight-round fight, and Viddal Riley is going to fight, or at least is advertised to face former UFC fighter Rashad Coulter.
PPV is still hanging around in boxing as a viable way to make money for sure, but outside of the odd true event, it’s going to have a horrible time cracking the old million buy benchmark anymore. It’s just a different time. The game has changd, and I don’t just mean with boxing. It is simply too easy for people to find a way to watch without paying anymore.
But fights can definitely still do well, still make big money. And the audience that wants to see Tyson-Jones really may not be the audience that is super familiar with, you know, alternative means. They may simply be perfectly stoked to pay $50 for this. How big that audience is remains to be seen, but again: it cannot be discounted that Mike Tyson is a MASSIVE star compared to literally any active boxer in the game today, even Manny Pacquiao or Canelo Alvarez, and Roy Jones Jr has a dedicated fan base, too.
We’re a different audience, obviously. We’re boxing specific here. This is not a general sports site. Most of the regular commenters seem to want little to do with this fight.
So obviously we’re asking them, but also every looky-loo who slips in here off a Google search. You gonna pay on Saturday? Is the intrigue of Tyson fighting again for the first time in 15 years enough for you to take the shot on it? Is the star power of Tyson and Jones, two all-time greats, drawing you in? Do you even just have a sort of morbid curiosity and want to see what the hell happens?
Just as a reminder: if you order or not, BadLeftHook.com WILL have live coverage on Saturday, with round-by-round updates for Tyson-Jones and Paul-Robinson. The event starts at 9 pm ET. If you get curious but don’t want to plunk down your money, we’ll be here to let you know up to the second what happens.
Will you order Tyson vs Jones on pay-per-view?
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