For the first time in 15 years, legendary boxer Mike Tyson, 54, will return to the ring, taking on his contemporary, 51-year-old Roy Jones Jr., in an eight-round exhibition pay-per-view fight that will take place on September 12.
Call this one the Battle of the Bad Backs. While the idea of watching two grey-haired icons may not be at the top of America’s sports wish list, it’s likely the fight will still draw significant eyeballs due to Tyson’s name, and the sheer oddity of it all.
The fight, which will take place at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif., will be available on pay-per-view and the social media platform, Triller, a mostly music-based app that is now jumping into live sports. The company’s release, which announced the fight, also said there will be a 10-part docu-series leading up to the event.
In his prime, Tyson, whose last fight ended with him retiring against Kevin McBride in 2005, was one of the most feared boxers ever. After becoming the youngest, at age 20, to win a heavyweight title with a TKO of Trevor Berbick in 1986, Tyson successfully retained his belt until 1990, when he lost to Buster Douglas in Tokyo. Of Tyson’s 50 career wins, 44 came by knockout.
Jones, meanwhile, made his name as one of the most versatile and talented fighters in the history of the sport, holding titles as a middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight. The BWAA’s Fighter of the Decade for the 1990s, Jones never got close to facing Tyson during their heyday. But perhaps it’s better late than never.
The event, being called “Frontline Battle,” will feature no headgear and only 12-ounce gloves.