An Early Look at the Dream Matchup of Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr

Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr

If you’re a fight fan and you haven’t heard the word about these two legends partaking in pugilism at the end of November, I don’t know what to tell you.

I don’t know what you think is gonna happen but I don’t at all expect these two to be friendly in there.

Has anyone forgotten about this gem?

Mike is something else, isn’t he?

If you listened to Mike Tyson in any interviews or even on his own podcast, Hotboxin’ with Mike Tyson, you know that the desire to hurt anyone had completely left him.

He told Joe Rogan on the Joe Rogan Experience that he didn’t train any longer not because of physical ailments but much more so because of the ego boost he received from doing something at a world-class level.

I can absolutely relate to that. Not the world-class part and I’ll never be Mike Tyson, of course, but Muay Thai has propped up my ego when it needed it the most.

This can be a good thing but there were and are too many times when looking good training filled me with a cocky feeling as Bruce Lee would say.

Mike Tyson seemed pretty darn content and he appeared plenty high enough off of some of the best marijuana in the world to simply smoke and podcast his way off into the proverbial sunset.

But noooo… Somebody had to offer him 50 million bucks and ruin the whole thing. Thanks, bro!

I have heard the 50 number but lately, it’s more like 10 million for Roy Jones Jr and another 15 for Iron Mike. That makes a little bit more sense but I still think they could generate plenty of cash.

Everybody loves Mike Tyson!

I can remember being at a UFC Fan Expo nearly 10 years ago and people were leaping out of lines they had been standing in for hours just to get close to Tyson.

He is almost bigger than the sport of boxing. Not really but he is royalty.

Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield both clearly defeated Tyson in their respective careers but you don’t see any promoters offering them 8 figures to come back and fight.

Mike’s opponent, though… Y’all think I forgot about Roy Jones Jr?! Heck no!

He is one of the greatest of all-time! It has only been 2 years since Roy laced them up and that will be a gigantic advantage for the Pensacola, Florida native.

The end of November is still far away. Heck, we just cracked 50 days left before the election.

It’ll be here before ya know it… I did want to do a quick preview for the fight so we can begin to prepare ourselves for what we’re going to see.

I have talked to so many people already, many who are hardcore fans, and they are convinced that Iron Mike is going to smoke Roy Jones Jr.

I think Captain Hook is a terrible matchup for Mike because of the speed he still carries at the age of 51.

Your reflexes tend to go around the age of 38. Well, Mike just turned 54 years old in June.

His head movement is incredible, though, and I think he will be able to slip some of Roy’s punches. Will he slip more than he gets hit? We will see.

BetOnline.AG has betting odds out for this fight and they are very interesting. Let’s look at the line and make a preliminary pick for the bout between legends Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr.

Mike Tyson (-170) vs Roy Jones Jr (+140)

Let’s focus on the objective information right now.

  • Mike is 54 and Roy is 51 – This is important, of course, but not nearly as paramount as my next point
  • Mike Tyson last competed inside the boxing ring in 15 YEARS AGO – Roy, as I mentioned a moment ago, fought his last fight in 2018
  • RJJ gets that box checked twice
  • That is by far the biggest difference I can find between the two

Here is the tale of the tape.

Roy Jones Jr. Tale of The Tape Mike Tyson
66 Wins 50
9 Lost 6
47 KOs 44
0 Draws 0
75 Total Bouts 56
63% KO% 79%
5’11” Height 5’11”
74″ Reach 71″
Orthodox Stance Orthodox
Pensacola, FL, USA Nationality Brooklyn, NY, USA
January 16th, 1969 Date of Birth June 30th, 1966

There isn’t a ton we can take away from the tale of the tape other than the reach advantage for the longer Jones.

That and, of course, the 15 years for Mike compared to the two years away from the ring from Roy Jones Jr are the biggest advantages for the latter.

Well, those, and the s-word. Yes, speed. It thrills. But more importantly, it kills.

Mike Tyson was never slow. Don’t get me wrong and by the looks of his recent training for this fight, he is still pretty quick on the trigger.

Roy Jones Jr, though…

Do I need to post a highlight?

Had to do it to ya.

Whether he was competing at middleweight, cruiserweight, or heavyweight, Roy Jones Jr was always faster than his opponents.

Honestly, I don’t know if that man ever fought anyone, anyone, faster than him. Maybe some of the opponents who beat him had a timing advantage and as you may know, timing beats speed.

So, we now have speed, reach, and rust level all in favor of the underdog, Roy Jones Jr.

Why is Jones Jr the underdog?

Is it just the aura of Mike Tyson that makes him the betting favorite? That could be the case and don’t act like that’s not a thing.

You know it is.

I see it all the time in MMA. Fighters who have never beat anyone in the top 20 are getting main event slots and Hollywood level hype trains. It is our job as bettors to recognize those opportunities and jump on them.

On paper, I don’t think Mike Tyson is that much better than Roy Jones Jr. If these two fought in their respective primes, I think the fight would be very very close.

Mike mostly beat his opponents through intimidation. He also overwhelmed them with aggression. Speed was a big part of that because Mike Tyson was small and very fast for the heavyweight division.

His peek-a-boo style of slipping and ripping with enormous power was simply too much for most boxers. If you’re used to having a speed advantage and all of a sudden you don’t, you’re gonna have a bad time.

It’s the same with the long guys. When they fight someone as tall and long or longer, life tends to get really difficult.

Timing is like that too. That is probably one of my best attributes and I remember fighting a guy who was slow as gas but he had me timed up perfectly from the opening bell.

It forces you to change your rhythm and cadence and sometimes that’s enough to give your opponent the advantage they need to eventually defeat you.

The reach thing shouldn’t be a big deal to Iron Mike. He has had to deal with much more significant reach disadvantages in his career than a measly three inches.

As we said a moment ago, RJJ has a 74-inch reach. That is pretty good for a guy 5’11. In comparison, though, Lennox Lewis stands 6’5” tall and has an 84-inch reach.

Are you starting to see why Mike Tyson had a hard time with these “true” heavyweights? 84 to 71 in the reach department for a fight…I don’t think I have ever seen a disparity so wide.

Point is, guys, that Mike is fine with the reach disadvantage. His style is made to beat the reach.

I think Mike could have dealt with superior speed better in his 30s than in his 50s, though. Speed is one of the first things to go when a fighter begins to age.

What advantages will Mike have against Roy in November? There has to be some. I want to say durability. Cardio?

We don’t know and I’m not sure how we are going to gauge that one unless we are waking up at 0400 hours to go for a run in the cold with Mike.

  • Well, they’re both in Vegas and/or LA as far as I know so maybe it isn’t Brooklyn in December but these two are putting in the work.
  • They’re both rich. They don’t need the money, so why put in the work?
  • They don’t want to look like creamed corn out there.

This is a legendary matchup that was unfortunately never made when these two savages were in their primes.

I think it’s going to be hard for Mike to win a decision. The speed, reach, the footwork, and particularly the superior jab of Roy could be the difference in the fight.

The biggest threat Tyson poses to Roy in this fight is power.

Roy Jones Jr has been knocked out several times in his career and his chin doesn’t appear to be the most durable thing ever.

For so long, he was just too fast offensively and defensively for any of his opponents and he never really got touched clean on the button. Once it started happening, though, Roy was never the same.

Jones was 48-1 with his only loss a DQ for hitting his opponent once he dropped to his knees. So, essentially he is 49-0 heading into a matchup with Antonio Tarver.

The fellow Floridian dropped Jones early but Roy was somehow able to hold on for a majority decision.

I remember I was living down in Tampa and my boss had me over for their rematch. It was over about as quick as it began when Tarver TKO’ed the more or less undefeated Jones Jr in the 2nd round.

Journeyman Glen Johnson was next for Roy and we got the same result except it lasted for 9 rounds.

After that and before Roy had time to internalize his first-ever losses which came back-to-back, Captain Hook was set to rematch the new champion, Tarver, at the St Pete Times Forum in Florida. Tarver won a unanimous decision and the shell shocked Roy Jones Jr had some decisions to make.

He returned to the ring and in 2008, fought both Felix Tito Trinidad and London’s Joe Calzaghe at Madison Square Garden. He got past Tito in what was the Puerto Rican star’s final fight but fell short to Calzaghe.

Roy was 39 at this point and his speed and more importantly, elite reaction time, have both declined. And when you’re playing a game of centimeters and milliseconds, slowing down just a half a step changes everything.

After two more tough fights in 2009 at the age of 40 now, Roy flew to Australia to fight local product Danny Green. Jones was landing his jab early and looked good until he didn’t.

Roy took one behind the ear that floored him and once he got off the canvas, he just covered up for about 40 seconds of a punching blitz and the referee was forced to call the fight. Dennis Lebedev KO’ed Roy a couple of years later in Russia.

Then, Jr lowered his level of competition and rattled off 8 straight W’s before he was KO’ed once more in Russia by an Italian guy. This one was even worse than the last.

Roy just covered and let his opponent work and a couple landed and before you knew it, Roy was asleep standing and promptly fell on his face.

Captain Hook was now 45 and he realized the end had to be near. He fought Scott Cujo Sigmon in his hometown of Pensacola, Florida, and won a unanimous decision.

I have actually trained with Sigmon. He is from my hometown in Virginia and is a loud-mouthed hillbilly who normally fights scrubs.

Scott actually talked his way into a fight with Kelly Pavlik too. He brought up the man’s alcoholism and how he was a terrible family member because of it. Hey, it worked. He got in there with someone on a much higher level and it showed.

The name of the game is to make money so I guess I shouldn’t hate.

Sigmon is not a KO type of guy, though, and I think that’s why he was chosen by Jones’s team for a retirement fight. Sigmon will push the pace for sure by putting his head in your chest and going to work.

Roy was able to win an easy decision but it’s not like his chin was ever tested. That is my biggest concern nowadays.

We know Mike can still absolutely crack. This is a very tough call because Roy has been TKO’ed twice and KO’ed out cold 3 times in his career.

My preliminary pick is going to be Mike Tyson. I think he will get tagged by Jones’s jab but not hurt by it. If Mike is smart, he will stay away from that left hook of Roy.

  • I know Mike loves his own left hook but I don’t think he wants to get into a race to the chin with lead left hands.
  • I want Mike to slip Roy’s power side and go to the body first and then horrryuuukinn! Or tiger uppercut!

I do think Jones will out-box Mike Tyson but I also think he will eventually get caught on or around the button and that will probably be the end of it.

Long story, guys, but we have a once in a generation type of fight here with two legends!

My Early Pick
Mike Tyson
-170

In Conclusion

The word needs to get out about this fight!

I am, of course, immersed in this stuff day and night. The fight game is half my life. Okay, maybe 4/5 but who’s counting?

I just told a non-fighter or civilian friend as we like to call them and he didn’t even know Roy and Mike were scheduled to fight. I was shocked!

Dude, get out of your real-world “bubble” and get with the times!

Mike Tyson is fighting Roy Jones Jr!

It is still hard to imagine especially considering the former hasn’t fought in 15 years!

I want to hold that against him with my pick but seeing him hit the focus mitts and listening to his renewed mindset makes me believe he can hang in the boxing ring today.

He isn’t fighting Tyson Fury.

Roy Jones Jr is, of course, a legend as well but both with both men north of 50-years-old, I think this is a fair fight.

We will have more on this legendary matchup as the fight approaches but throw a little cash on Mike Tyson now because his popularity is so high, I think most of the money will continue to come in on him.

Mike Pruitt / Author

Mike has been covering sports professionally since 2017 but on the amateur scene for 25 years since when he was 12. Before the internet changed the world, he would keep detailed statistical box scores of NFL and NBA contests, write recaps, and voluntarily commentate games and fights alone in his room. Mike's military experience, Bachelors Degree, and employment thereafter were always rooted in engineering, science, and teaching. Now he enjoys being able to express himself through writing about football, golf, and car racing among other sports but most of all fighting as his life has been rooted in mixed martial arts including competing and teaching for the past 15 years.