After all these years, Roy Jones Jr. is getting his wish.
Jones will face Mike Tyson on Sept. 12 in an eight-round exhibition boxing match in California, which has been dubbed “Frontline Battle,” on pay-per-view.
Jones, 51, always has wanted to fight Tyson, but the stars never aligned. Jones, the former heavyweight titleholder, had most of his success as a cruiserweight, middleweight and light heavyweight, but would have stuck around at heavyweight when he won the WBA title in 2003 if he had the chance to fight Tyson.
However, Tyson retired shortly after.
Tyson, 54, has been teasing a comeback for a while, looking in phenomenal shape in training videos on social media. But despite that, Jones admits that the news of Tyson’s comeback was shocking, and he’s ecstatic to get the opportunity to fight him, even if it’s 17 years later.
“Too hard to resist, too incredible to resist, too much of a blessing to resist” Jones told MMA Junkie on Monday. “When I won the heavyweight title, I told them the only other person I would fight as a heavyweight was Mike Tyson. If Mike Tyson didn’t want to fight, I was going back down to light heavyweight. From what I got … was that he was through with boxing, he didn’t want to box no more, so I left and went back to light heavyweight. I didn’t stick around, but to have him come out now and say, ‘OK, I want to come back. Guess what? You wanted it, you get your opportunity.’ I’m like, ‘Yes.’”
California State Athletic Commission executive officer Andy Foster recently said that the public can’t be mislead into believing this is a real fight. But Jones says it won’t be any different than if they were to have fought in 2003, and he expects Tyson to come out with the same ruthless energy that has led to 44 knockouts in his 50 career wins.
“No different,” Jones said. “I mean, the first three rounds, he’s gonna be dangerous. He was like that in his prime. He’s like that now. He’s a guy that can knock you out from Round 1 to Round 12, so in the eighth round he’ll still be dangerous. But if you can get the fatigue factor to set in, then you got a better chance. So for me, I got to try and work off the second half of the fight more so than I work off the first half.”
He continued, “Mike knows one way – kill. That’s all he knows. Destruction and destroy. That’s all he understands, so my mindset is I better be ready when I go in between those ropes. One thing my dad’s taught me, he said, ‘If you’re going to kill a fly, you kill a fly with an axe, not a fly swatter.’”