Haters gonna hate. For Taylor Swift 2014, read Mike Tyson 2020. He’s back in the ring this weekend and Iron Mike couldn’t help but throw a stiff right at those who scoffed at his return by delivering the news that his exhibition bout (due to contractual reasons this is how we shall refer to this fight... sorry, exhibition bout) against four-weight world champion Roy Jones, has already broken pay-per-view records.
On seeing the numbers, the 54-year-old, who last fought 15 years ago, took to social media (fun fact, folks, Twitter first went live almost a year to the day after Tyson bowed out on his stool against Kevin McBride in June 2005) writing, "Numbers don’t lie. Haters are mad they can’t get numbers like this. Saturday is reckoning. Roy Jones Jr you better be ready." Haters gonna hate, hate, shake it off…
The fact Roy Jones is now 51 himself and therefore can no longer technically be referred to as Jr has clearly been lost on Tyson, but we’ll forgive him that, his mind is elsewhere right now. Here’s everything you need to know about the fig...sorry, exhibition bout.
Why is it happening?
Stories of Mike Tyson blowing the stack loads of cash he earned in the ring are stuff of legend, the man himself recalls leaving $1m in a Louis Vuitton duffel bag at a friend's house. “I had a rough night in the city and forgotten where I left it,” was his simple explanation. We’ve all been there, right? So it would be understandable to think Tyson was making a comeback for cash, and he certainly wouldn’t be the first boxer to do so.
But, friends, you’d be wrong, very wrong. He doesn’t need the money, since he’s raking in an estimated £500,000 a month from his totally legal cannabis ranch in California. And he’s planning on building a 418-acre luxury resort for fans of the herb, which has been described as a ‘wonderland of weed’. So why is he fighting again? Simple, he just loves to box. Or, as the man himself put it in a Facebook live stream earlier this year, “The gods of war ignited my ego and want me to go to war again.” And who are we to stop the gods of war? Enjoy the ride, folks.
Where and when is it happening?
The world famous Staples Center, downtown Los Angeles, is the setting for this comeback bout on Saturday 28 November. Best known as the home of the LA Lakers, it also houses the LA Clippers, Kings, Sparks and Avengers. Which, we know, makes it sound like a Marvel movie (this is what happens when Hollywood is only down the road). Of course, thanks to Covid-19 there will be no spectators, but there’s plenty happening that we can enjoy from afar.
Tyson and Roy Jones are expected to step into the ring sometime between 4 and 5am. You’ve got two ways of approaching this, you can get some shut-eye and set the alarm to wake you at four bells, or you can join the ‘straight through crew’. Now here’s the thing, if you opt for the latter approach you have to remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint. You have been warned.
Where can I watch it happening?
Stay up or get up, whatever path you choose, coverage starts at midnight here in the UK, and it’s available via BT Sport Box Office, and will set you back £19.95. It will also be available to stream on PPV on social media site Triller. There’s a full undercard, which are actual, real fights, and include YouTube star Jake Paul taking on former NBA legend Nate Robinson (this will be a better fight that it sounds, trust us). There’s also a tasty encounter between Badou Jack and Blake McKernan at light-heavyweight to whet the appetite before the headline act.Plus there’s music, lots of it. Ne-Yo will perform the national anthem, while Da Baby, Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, French Montana and YG will all get their gig on. And the whole night will be hosted by Saved By The Bell’s Mario Lopez. It’s a long way from York Hall, down Bethnal Green!
Knockouts won’t be happening…or will they?
So we know it’s not officially a fight, it’s an exhibition bout. The California State Commission say the exhibition will be fought under the rules that both men will not look for the knock-out and will instead "exhibit" their skills. Though Iron Mike doesn’t seem to have read the memo, "We're throwing punches at each other. This is going to be my definition of fun … broken eye sockets, broken jaw, broken rib. That's fun to me." Fun for us too Mike, make no mistake.
The contest will be fought over eight, shorter two-minute rounds, there’ll be no headguards but Tyson and Jones will both wear larger 12-ounce gloves. Technically the action can only be stopped if there is a knock-out, but California State Athletic Commission executive director Andy Forster has insisted he will stop it if a cut appears (spoil sport). There will be a belt for the winner, as they’ll be crowned the WBC Frontline champion. And both fighters will be drug tested, but there’s one exception, it won’t include a test for cannabis. Which is wise considering Tyson has admitted to smoking £40,000 of his own product from Tyson Ranch every month!