Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr.: Bleacher Report Staff Predictions

Kelsey McCarsonFeatured ColumnistNovember 25, 2020

Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr.: Bleacher Report Staff Predictions

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    Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

    Mike Tyson is fighting Roy Jones Jr. this weekend.

    It's one of the most unexpected events of an undeniably unbelievable year, and there's no doubt that the world will be watching it all go down via Triller pay-per-view on Saturday night.

    Just how ferocious is the 54-year-old former "Baddest Man on the Planet" today? And how fast can the 51-year-old Jones possibly still be?

    We'll find out the answers to those questions and more this weekend when Tyson takes on Jones in a superfight boxing exhibition.

    Wondering how to order the fight? Don't worry, all leading cable, satellite and telco providers in the U.S. and Canada are carrying the highly anticipated pay-per-view event live on Saturday, November 28.

    But before you buy the big fight this weekend to watch "Iron Mike" Tyson vs. "Captain Hook" Jones, Bleacher Report's Lyle Fitzsimmons and I, Kelsey McCarson, got together to predict the action.

    And make sure to let us know your predictions in the comments.

Kelsey McCarson: Roy Jones Jr. Wins

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    What advantages does Roy Jones Jr. have in this epic fight?
    What advantages does Roy Jones Jr. have in this epic fight?Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

    You want a prediction for Tyson vs. Jones Jr. in 2020? Here's my prediction: it's going to be lots of fun.

    Look, I have no idea who wins this fight. Not only have I not seen Tyson or Jones fight in a long time, but the matter becomes greatly complicated by the fact that the fight will happen under some modified rules that I've never really seen before.

    Tyson vs. Jones will be an eight-round contest. The fighters will wear a little larger gloves than they would have during their heydays, and each round will only be two minutes long rather than the standard three-minute rounds used in men's professional boxing.

    Regardless, if I throw all that data out the window, this fight would seem to be a pick'em bout on paper heading into things, at least in my eyes.

    While Tyson is the naturally larger career heavyweight, Jones is three years younger than him and will carry into the boxing ring on fight night the experience of having actually fought eight times in the last five years.

    By comparison, Tyson's last fight was almost 15 years ago. Ring rust is one thing, but 15 years is straight decay.

    Prime for prime, I can't really pick Jones to beat Tyson in a heavyweight bout. While Jones became the first middleweight boxing champ to win a heavyweight title in 106 years back in 2003 in his lone appearance in the weight class, Tyson is considered by most to be one of the greatest heavyweight champions in history.

    But Jones Jr. certainly has to rank higher than Tyson when looking at things from a pound-for-pound perspective. Jones was the pound-for-pound best boxer of his era, and he won world titles in four different weight classes.

    Of course, none of that matters all that much to this weekend's fight. All that stuff is history, and we're dealing with present circumstances.

    My prediction for Saturday night is that Jones probably still has better timing than Tyson does thanks to him staying closer to the sport over the past few years.

    That will help Jones avoid early danger, and he'll score the narrow win via the three celebrity boxing judges furnished for the fight via the World Boxing Council.

    Jones wins via split-decision.

Lyle Fitzsimmons: Mike Tyson Wins

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    Can Mike Tyson recapture the glory of his youth?
    Can Mike Tyson recapture the glory of his youth?Douglas C. Pizac/Associated Press

    Let me get this straight.

    Mike Tyson was the heavyweight of the late 1980s. Roy Jones Jr. was the light heavyweight of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

    Yet here we are in this dumpster fire called 2020, and they're about to meet in what's arguably the biggest boxing event of the year. Or at least the biggest event of the year in which boxing is involved.

    Regardless of how you feel about 54-year-olds fighting 51-year-olds with modified equipment and timing and a nudge-and-wink agreement that they won't actually hurt each other, it's still a bit of a rush to see the names on the marquee.

    Though I'd suggest he's nowhere near deserving of Kelsey's heady placement among all-time heavyweight greats, Tyson was certainly the straw that stirred the division's drink for two decades—and it's his unlikely return to a muscled-up menace that will drive the buy rates for a card veering far closer to ridiculous than sublime.

    Jones, on the other hand, was his generation's undisputed superman, throwing combos faster than speeding bullets and leaping multiple weight classes in a single bound until the instant Antonio Tarver's left hand rendered him a mere mortal on May 15, 2004.

    They briefly neared each other's orbits back then, when Jones rose to heavyweight to win a belt from John Ruiz and Tyson was still reeling from an aura-disintegrating demolition by Lennox Lewis. But the match wasn't made, and Jones wound up heading back to 175 and into the path of the aforementioned Tarver left hand that took his aura in equally devastating fashion.

    It's certainly not the fight now that it could have been then, and whatever traffic it does generate will be more nostalgic than blood-thirsty. Still, it will be intriguing to see if a closer-to-active Jones can use whatever muscle memory he's retained to offset the fury with which Tyson has ravaged heavy bags and training mitts in the strategically dropped YouTube clips that created the initial buzz that has led to this weekend.

    But as much as I'd like to see it, the vibe here is no. Rather than the athletic rings he might have danced around Iron Mike 17 years ago, it feels like whatever resistance Jones can still muster won't be enough to consistently withstand the two minutes of hell a wrinkled, graying Tyson has promised to deliver each round until the geezers remove their dentures and pack it in for a night of Matlock.

    Gimme the "Baddest Man on the Planet" by unanimous decision, or whatever the three-person tribunal of celebrity number crunchers chooses to call it. And sorry, Roy, you've been voted off Legends Island.

    Tyson wins via unanimous decision.