Once upon a night near Hollywood
By John J. Raspanti
First off, when the bout was announced, I didn’t openly complain. I might have rolled my eyes, but that reaction was not a judgement against 50- something legends Mike Tyson and Roy Jones.
For whatever reason - charity, money, you name it--Tyson and Jones have earned the right to fight whenever they want to. Over the course of their boxing careers, they left pieces of themselves in a number of boxing rings.
Jones has been knocked out five times. Buster Douglas, and later Evander Holyfield, knocked Tyson into tomorrowland. It was brutal and unforgettable.
For a while, both were the best fighters on the planet. Their falls were swift and dramatic. Maybe in a way it made sense that, based on their history, they’d fight each other.
And, one needs to remember, a passion for something, no matter how old the participant, never goes away. Jones has loved boxing all his life. Tyson fell in and out love over the years. He said a few weeks ago, that part of the reason he was fighting again, was to "rediscover his passion."
Boxing exhibitions are nothing new. I won’t even discuss the Muhammad Ali - Antonio Inoki match.
I did see a replay of the Tyson and Jones fight. It wasn’t bad. Tyson had the edge if that matters. Two-minute rounds, in a ring that looked like something created on a Hollywood set. Well, the bout was held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, a handful of miles from Tinseltown.
No fans added to the surreal feel of it all.
Being a fan of the Rocky series (the first one most of all) I flashed on Rocky Balboa made in 2006. The film was a comeback of Rocky, and it’s creator Sylvester Stallone. Most scoffed at it, ridiculed Stallone, who was 59 at the time.
No way it would be any good. But you know what? It was. The film captured some of the grit and heart of the first film, doing well with fans and critics.
So perhaps that’s the way to look at the Tyson – Jones exhibition. No way neither could be as good as they once were, but Saturday night the two did a little ‘get back.’
And hey! For what it was, it wasn’t bad.