Mike Tyson finally announced who his comeback opponent will be for an upcoming boxing bout scheduled for later this year, and it’s retired champion Roy Jones Jr. Tyson, 54, is set to face Jones, 51, in an eight-round exhibition boxing match scheduled for September 12 in Carson, California. Tyson vs. Jones will be available via pay-per-view.
Here are five fast facts you need to know about Tyson’s 2020 comeback opponent.
His Era’s Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao
Jones was the premier fighter of his era the way Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao were for their eras.
In fact, just like Mayweather was declared Fighter of the Decade (2010s) by the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA), and Manny Pacquiao was named the same for the 2000s, the BWAA awarded Jones its Fighter of the Decade award for the 1990s.
Jones began his professional career in the 154-pound junior middleweight division in 1989 after suffering a controversial loss in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul that netted the American the silver medal in the light middleweight division.
But his 3-2 loss in the gold medal match has been labeled one of the most stunning events in Olympic history and most people believe Jones was “cheated” out of the gold medal.
Regardless, Jones made good on his potential as a professional.
By 1993, Jones had won his first world title in the 160-pound middleweight division against future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins, and the American went on to win six more major championships (and a slew of others) in three more weight classes.
Jones has been hailed as “the most talented fighter ever” and his long list of accomplishments doesn’t do much to dissuade that perspective.
Neither do any of his highlight videos on YouTube.
Last Fought in 2018
Unlike Tyson, who retired in 2005 after getting stopped by Kevin McBride in the sixth round, Jones has stayed much more active in boxing over the last 15 years.
Part of that reason is that Jones is from an era that came just slightly after Tyson’s. But the other big reason is that Jones has simply wanted to keep boxing in a professional capacity, even as he’s aged past his best years.
In fact, since the beginning of 2010, Jones has fought 15 times in legitimate prizefights. Tyson has competed in zero of those during that same timeframe.
Jones’ record over that time period is 12-3, and he’s won his last four fights in a row.
While Jones hasn’t faced anything like the elite competition he destroyed during his best years, Jones has at least stayed active at a competitive level in the sport.
Won World Titles From Middleweight to Heavyweight
Jones left his mark in boxing history in a substantial way when he moved up from the 175-pound light heavyweight division in 2003 to challenge WBA heavyweight champion John Ruiz.
Jones dominated the 12-round contest and became the first former middleweight champion in boxing in 106 years to win a heavyweight title.
Nobody has accomplished that feat since Jones, and it’s likely never to happen again in our lifetimes.
Additionally, at that point in his career, Jones was an astonishing 48-1 with his lone loss being a disqualification in a fight he was winning after Jones inadvertently hit his opponent while his opponent’s knee was down on the canvas.
Jones avenged that loss in the very next fight via first-round stoppage.
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Almost Fought Mike Tyson Back in 2003
Jones almost fought Tyson back in 2003.
It was hailed by some pundits at the time as “the most anticipated fight in boxing” but the fight never materialized.
Instead, Jones moved back down to the light heavyweight division to defend his 175-pound crown against Antonio Tarver.
Jones won that fight via majority decision, but Tarver did well enough in the contest that some people thought the challenger deserved the nod.
In his very next fight the following year, Jones was knocked out cold by Tarver in the second round.
Jones was 49-1 before that stunning loss, and most boxing historians believe the last prime version of Jones seen inside a boxing ring was the one that beat Ruiz in 2003.
Some have suggested in hindsight that the weight cut Jones endured after moving up to heavyweight and back down is what sunk his career.
But it’s also completely reasonable to suggest that a fighter like Jones who relied so much on his athleticism would suffer dire consequences once he reached his mid-30s.
Whatever the case, by 2004 Jones’ best years were clearly behind him, and they never returned.
Knocked Opponent Out With Hands Behind His Back
Jones was a unique performer, and one wonders what type of celebrity he might have become had he competed during this new age of viral videos and social media.
One such example of how different a fighter Jones was compared to his peers, or just about any other fighter in history, happened during his reign as light heavyweight king in 2002.
In his title defense against previously undefeated contender Glen Kelly, Jones placed both his hands behind his back as his opponent crowded him into the ropes before exploding to deliver a sensational seventh-round knockout.
You can watch that amazing move below.
Jones doesn’t have the same name-recognition as Tyson among mainstream sports fans, but people who follow boxing closely know he’s one of the most talented and decorated fighters in the history of the sport.
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