Mike Tyson isn’t pulling any punches entering his exhibition bout against former champion Roy Jones Jr. He wants to win.
“My mindset is totally bliss. This is something I’ve done all my life since I was 13 years old,” Tyson said. “I’m more evolved now than I’ve ever been. My objective is to go in there with the best intentions of my life and to disable my opponent, and that’s just what it is.”
Tyson, 54, and Jones, 51, enter the ring against each other on Nov. 28 for an eight-round exhibition fight at Staples Center in Los Angeles without fans in attendance.
Jones said the one question he always hears from people is, “Have you ever fought Mike Tyson?”
Until now, that answer has been no.
“Now I don’t have to say ‘no’ no more,” Jones said during Thursday’s news conference. “I’m so glad to get this opportunity because now I can say, ‘Yes, I did. I sure did.’ And guess what? Tune in on the 28th, and you’ll see how it go.”
The two boxing legends were originally set to meet on Sept. 12, but the fight was postponed.
Jones and Tyson doubled down that they’re taking this fight seriously despite it being an exhibition. There will be a new prize, the WBC Frontline Battle Belt, on the line.
Steve Ward, who was 60 when he fought in the United Kingdom, holds the world record for oldest to participate in a professional boxing match.
The exhibition kicks off Tyson’s Legends Only League. “Iron Mike” wouldn’t confirm whether this would be his last fight.
“I’m going to go as long as the league is working,” Tyson said. “I’m going to do this, and I’m going to help a lot of people. And my legend is going to be that I’ve gave a lot more than I’ve took.”
Tyson hasn’t entered the ring since his 2005 loss to Kevin McBride. In his prime, Tyson was revered as “The Baddest Man on the Planet.” He won his first 19 fights by stoppage to break Rocky Marciano’s record for most consecutive wins by KO/TKO to start a career. That record has since been broken.
Tyson also became the youngest heavyweight champion in history when he won the title at age 20.
Because of that résumé and reputation as a strong puncher, Jones says he’s training with same intensity of his heyday, which includes a lot of sparring.
“Honestly, you would have to be a fool not to,” Jones said. “You’re going in the ring with one of the most dangerous men to ever grace the boxing ring.”
Jones, however, looks forward to his chance to fulfill a bucket-list moment and test his skills against Tyson. There were negotiations years ago to make it happen, but they fell through.
“I’ve always wanted to see how I would fare with Mike,” Jones told ESPN. “How his punches would look coming at me. Could I avoid them? How long could I avoid them? Could he avoid mine? Could he take mine? There was a lot of questions always, so of course, if you get an opportunity to answer them, you want to answer those questions. They gave me the opportunity, so guess what? I’ve got to answer these questions now.”
There will be three other featured bouts on the undercard. They include former NBA guard Nate Robinson vs. YouTube star Jake Paul, Badou Jack vs. Blake McKernan, and Viddal Riley vs. Randy Coulter.
Paul is predicting a first-round knockout against Robinson.
“He’s weak. He knows he’s weak. I see it. I’m not predicting,” Paul told ESPN of Robinson. “I’m betting my house on it.”