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Mike Tyson v. Roy Jones, Jr. PPV Exhibition Postponed

James Murphy
by in Boxing on
  • The PPV exhibition ’bout’ between Roy Jones, Jr. and Mike Tyson originally set for September 12 has been postponed.
  • The event will take place at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
  • The tentative date is now November 28.

Remember the Mike Tyson ‘comeback’ fight against Roy Jones, Jr. that people were seriously excited about for a few hours? The event was originally scheduled to take place on September 12 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California but has reportedly been postponed. The new ‘tentative date’ for the fight is November 28. A more likely date for the fight is ‘never’.

The Tyson v. Jones exhibition sounded intriguing when it was first announced. Mike Tyson has been taking his training more seriously and looked impressive in some YouTube footage. Roy Jones, Jr. is possibly the most gifted athlete I’ve ever seen inside a boxing ring and has been semi-active during recent years having last fought in 2018. Jones is also a highly unorthodox stylistic matchup for anyone. I have to admit I took the bait and quickly wrote up this take on the event:

“I’ve been a boxing writer, handicapper and bettor for over twenty years. If I’m betting this fight Roy Jones, Jr. is definitely the play. The ‘public’ is going to back Tyson here and they’ll be paying a premium for the ‘Tyson mystique’. Factor that out of the equation and Jones is a solid favorite. Tyson last fought in June 2005, losing to Kevin McBride. Jones has fought 23 times since then and 14 times in the past decade. All we’ve seen of Tyson is some impressive training footage. Jones last fought in 2018 winning a convincing decision. Jones has a very unorthodox style and is younger and taller than Tyson. If Tyson tries to knock Jones out he’s at serious risk of running out of gas early. If it’s a glorified sparring session Jones is better equipped to win rounds. I’m going to wait and hope the casual fans ‘take the bait’ and bet Tyson and then take whatever price I can with Jones.”

A few sportsbooks posted an opening line on the fight which only added to the anticipation. That all changed a few hours later when the Westgate Superbook took the fight down. The Las Vegas Review Journal reported on the Westgate’s decision and I’ve highlighted the money shot:

The Westgate sportsbook made the bout a pick’em Thursday morning, with each former world heavyweight champion listed at -110. But the book took the fight off the board Thursday afternoon after learning that there will be no judges, scoring or a winner declared.

And just like that, the massive buzz for the fight disappeared quicker than a bag of Doritos at a Super Bowl party.

The reality is that no one wants to watch two retired fighters–even two retired legends like RJ and ‘Iron Mike’–screw around in the ring for eight rounds. If you don’t have judging or a winner declared there’s just no interest. That’s the whole point of fighting. It also negates the betting component which could have been significant in terms of handle and even more so in terms of hype generation. As huge a box office draw as Tyson was in his prime no one is going to buy a PPV event to watch a couple of 50 something boxers screw around in a ring inside an empty stadium.

You can’t take away any of the legit accomplishments that Tyson and RJ earned in the ring during their respective careers. At this point, however, this is a de factocelebrity boxing match‘. And like so many ersatz fight matchups that came before including Tom Cruise v. Justin Bieber and Chris Brown v. Soulja Boy the Mike Tyson ‘comeback’ against Roy Jones Jr. will quietly go away as promoters continue to ‘run the numbers’. Even before the official word that there would be no judges, no scoring and no result the fight didn’t sound particularly compelling as California Athletic Commission executive director Andy Foster described it:

“This isn’t a situation where they’re going out there to try to take each other’s heads off. They’re just going to be in there moving around the ring and letting fans see these legends.”

Given the right matchup, you can probably promote an exhibition bout both as a live event and a PPV draw. Even in an exhibition, however, you have to have a winner or no one wants to see it. The profit potential of the Roy Jones/Mike Tyson exhibition is already limited due to the live audience restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only does this eliminate the live gate it eliminates much of the excitement generated by fan reactions.

Ultimately, I can’t see any way this fight could be profitable and if it won’t be profitable it won’t happen:


Yes                                                  +300
No                                                   -350

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