In what was ultimately a sporting event as bizarre as the year it capped off, boxing legends Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. returned to the ring in a battle of 50-year-old former champions Saturday night.
After eight two-minute rounds at Los Angeles’ Staples Center, and some impressive displays from both veteran fighters, the bout was ruled a draw by the WBC’s unofficial judges, Christy Martin, Vinny Pazienza and Chad Dawson.
“This is better than fighting for championships,” Tyson said after the heavyweight tilt, the goal of which was to raise money for charity. “We’re humanitarians now. We can do something good for the world. We’ve got to do this again.”
While Jones’ return to the ring was his first since 2018, it was Tyson’s first time back in 15 years. But the man who established himself as one of the most dominant heavyweights in the game back in his prime showed glimpses of the form that made him an undisputed champion decades ago.
“The body shots definitely took a toll,” said Jones post-fight about Tyson’s attack. “It’s something to take the punches that Mike throws. I’m cool with a draw. Maybe we can do it again.”
While the event divided boxing fans between those who saw it as little more than a spectacle and others who were more than willing to indulge for a chance to see two of the sport’s best make their return, chatter about the card on social media — from YouTuber Jake Paul’s knockout win over former NBA guard Nate Robinson to Tyson and Jones’ main-event meeting — made clear the undeniable interest in the event regardless.
The spectacle certainly didn’t disappoint, either, with California legend Snoop Dogg emerging as one of the true winners on the night, his commentary throughout — not short on witty one-liners — drawing rave reviews from the social media crowd.
By the night’s end, the meeting of the two former champs under the lights finished amicably.
“I hit you with some good shots, and you took it,” Tyson told Jones post-fight. “I respect that.”
Re-live all the action below via the Twitterverse’s round-by-round reaction to the fight, from the opening bell to the last:
— ESPN Ringside (@ESPNRingside) November 29, 2020
First Half (Rounds 1-4)
Imagine if they were in their prime. Thank you mike and Roy we needed this. 1 for the culture. And I ain’t complaining.
— Baron Davis (@BaronDavis) November 29, 2020
Snoop “do he really wanna frustrate mike?”
— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) November 29, 2020
Second Half (Rounds 4-8)
Think Roy Jones really thought this was an exhibition and Tyson’s fighting for his life #tysonvsjones
— Billy Q (@BillyQMMA) November 29, 2020
— With files from The Associated Press