One of the most highly anticipated sporting events during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend features a pair of boxing legends in an exhibition bout.
At 54, Mike Tyson will step back into the ring for the first time in over a decade as he faces off with Roy Jones Jr., who was a multi-weight class champion and regarded as one of the pound-for-pound best boxers on the planet during the prime of his career.
Judging by the videos posted online, both Tyson and Jones are taking this matchup quite seriously as they look to put on a show for the pay-per-view broadcast running at $49.99.
In the leadup to the bout there has been some confusion about the rules and regulations approved by the California State Athletic Commission so executive director Andy Foster spoke to MMA Fighting to confirm details surrounding the Tyson vs. Jones Jr. bout.
“Let’s call it an exhibition. That’s what it is,” Foster said. “I want the public to know what this is because I don’t want people to be disappointed. As long as they know this is an exhibition, I’m fine for everybody to earn.”
According to Foster, the rules surrounding an exhibition are much different than a sanctioned fight. He pointed to a similar situation last September when former champion Julio Cesar Chavez returned for a four-round exhibition against Jorge Arce.
That night, Chavez and Arce traded blows for four rounds but in the end there was no winner or loser and no judges were involved scoring the bout. The same rules will apply for Tyson vs. Jones Jr. this weekend.
“There’s no official judges,” Foster clarified. “The WBC is going to have some guest celebrity judges remotely, not official, not 10-9 [scores], nothing like that. No cumulative score. No winner announced.
“That’s a very entertainment centered thing. It’s about entertainment. It’s not about competition.”
While the WBC got involved by naming a “Frontline Heavyweight Title” being awarded, Foster says both Tyson and Jones will actually be handed a belt after the bout is over but no winner will be declared.
“There’s no winner going to be announced,” Foster said. “I do think that’s very important to get out there. The unofficial scores are for entertainment only and that’s done by the WBC remotely. Not by the commission cause the commission didn’t credential those judges because of COVID. It’s for entertainment purposes only. There’s no official winner at the end of this.”
Here are a few more rules in place for the Tyson vs. Jones Jr. exhibition:
— The bout will take place over 8 rounds at two minutes each.
— The boxers will not be required to wear head gear
— Tyson and Jones will be wearing 12-ounce gloves
— If either boxer suffers a bad cut, the exhibition is over.
— Tyson and Jones had to undergo complete medical testing in order to be cleared for the bout and both athletes entered VADA (Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency) testing prior to the contest.
Ultimately, Foster wanted to ensure that the correct information about the bout was being handed out to the public so there were no misconceptions heading into the event.
As a longtime boxing fan himself, Foster completely understands the entertainment value in seeing a pair of legends like Tyson and Jones mixing it up again.
“It’s going to be fun,” Foster said. “It is what it is and it’s not more than it is but it’s going to be fun. They’re both wonderful champions. These are legends of the sport.”