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Mike Tyson vs Roy Jones Jr: Don’t count out RJJ

Mike Tyson vs Roy Jones Jr is supposedly an exhibition but fighters be fighters and the younger man may well be worth backing at the bookies

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Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you will be now be aware of two modern legends emerging from retirement to meet in what is being marketed as an eight-round heavyweight exhibition. In a battle between the youngest ever world heavyweight champion and the first former middleweight champ to become a global heavyweight king in over a hundred years, Mike Tyson vs Roy Jones Jr will take place on September 12, at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. And while the Executive Director of the California State Athletic Commission believes the pair will simply be moving around, showcasing what is left of their skills, fighting pride is a dangerous thing and you better believe both men will be eager to prove their superiority.

 

Jones was the initial betting favourite before a flood of money on Tyson, no doubt from fans in awe at his recent dynamic displays on the pads, reduced Roy to a narrow outsider. Given they are not wearing headgear and will don 12oz gloves, heavier than the usual 10oz for a heavyweight contest but still pretty light, the consensus seems to be that the more powerful, naturally larger Tyson has the advantage. As former TV exec and current promoter Lou DiBella pointed out in

, “Power seems to last longer than speed,” inferring that Jones’ best attribute will have faded more than Tyson’s.

 

But don’t count RJJ out. It’s certainly worth looking at offers at bookmakers like Findbettingsites. Both men faded significantly before belatedly retiring but Jones, the younger man by three years at 51, called it a day only two-and-a-half years ago, while Tyson has not appeared in a competitive bout for a whopping 15 years. And while “Iron Mike” has delighted fans by whipping himself into supreme shape at such an advanced age, the polarising heavyweight icon owns a marijuana distributor and is known to partake himself, hardly traditional preparation for a comeback. Jones meanwhile has been in the gym often since retirement, training fighters like Jean Pascal and, more recently, Chris Eubank Jr. He has been surrounded by boxing, still participating in daily drills Tyson may only recently have rediscovered.

 

Physically, there is no doubt Tyson will be well prepared but the sharpness that only comes with regular competitive activity may not be there and eight rounds is insufficient time to shed 15 years of ring rust. Jones was fighting – and winning – just a couple of years ago and is still working in the ring on a regular basis; for him this may be like slipping back into training camp. If Tyson can land with full force then Jones will almost certainly have an early night, but I think it is more likely that Jones outmanoeuvres a rusty “Iron” and stays out of trouble to ‘win’ with better punch-picking and accuracy.

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