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The Real Winners and Losers from the Mike Tyson-Roy Jones Jr. Card

Lyle Fitzsimmons@@fitzbitzFeatured ColumnistNovember 29, 2020

Snoop Dogg Was Entertaining Throughout the Night
Snoop Dogg Was Entertaining Throughout the NightJoe Scarnici/Getty Images

Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. met in a boxing ring on Saturday night.

Yes, that Mike Tyson and that Roy Jones Jr.

The one-time "Baddest Man on the Planet," Tyson was just 20 years old when he became the youngest heavyweight champion of the world in 1986.

Meanwhile, Jones parlayed a silver medal at the 1988 Summer Olympics into a pro career that yielded titles in four weight classes and acclaim from The Ring as the best boxer of the 1990s.

Tyson is now 54. Jones is 51.

The former retired in 2005 after losing three of his last four fights. The latter hung around until 2018 but was a more pedestrian 17-8 from 2004 on after going 49-1 in his first 50 fights. 

Nevertheless, the drums began beating for their matchup several months ago, when Tyson started dropping a series of menacing-looking workout videos via social media. Jones signed on for the eight-round exhibition challenge in July, and it was originally scheduled for September before a two-month delay to November.

Their match topped a multifaceted show that featured three other fights—including one between a YouTube star and a former NBA player—alongside several live musical performances. It was produced for pay-per-view with a $49.99 price tag and distributed via the video-based networking app Triller.

The B/R combat sports team was in position to document the goings-on from Los Angeles, and we fulfilled our lofty role by compiling a list of the real winners and losers at the Staples Center.

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Take a look at what we came up with, and see how it jibes with your own takeaways. 

Loser: Picking a Winner

Oh, brother.

As if boxing hadn't been enough of a target for punchlines due to the event itself, it managed to make itself a target yet again with bizarre scoring that called the Tyson-Jones bout a split-decision draw.

Three former World Boxing Council champions—Chad Dawson, Christy Martin and Vinny Pazienza—scored the bout and managed to turn in three contrasting tabulations that amounted to a deadlock.

Dawson somehow scored it four rounds apiece at 76-76, while Martin had it 79-73 for Tyson, which translates to seven rounds to one. They were balanced out by a ridiculous 80-76 tally by Pazienza for Jones, which roughly equates to 4-0 with four rounds even.

B/R, incidentally, scored all eight rounds for Tyson, who consistently pressed the action, landed the only blows that approached true damage and seemed better conditioned for eight two-minute rounds.

Still, the former two-time heavyweight champ said he was satisfied.

"I'm good with that," he said. "I entertained the crowd. The crowd was happy."

Jones, who was gasping for breath after one round and frequently clinched in order to avoid prolonged onslaughts, nevertheless said he believed he deserved the verdict.

"For me, I thought I did enough boxing from the outside to get it," he said.

Jones initially suggested a rematch but then said he'd talk to his family before deciding whether to continue fighting in any form. Tyson, meanwhile, said he'd "absolutely" return to the ring in an exhibition format rather than in an actual professional situation.

"This is bigger. It's more meaningful," he said. "This is more important than fighting for some championship belt. We're doing this, and we're helping people."

   

Winner: Snoop Dogg on the Broadcast Mic

Let's face it: The fight was a dud.

Even for two AARP-eligible combatants.

But while Tyson and Jones delivered something less than promised by social media and breathless PR, their fight was not completely without its highlights.

Stepping straight from the stage to a ringside perch after a smoke-filled musical performance, Snoop Dogg was the runaway star of an eclectic four-man commentary team that blended strategic analysis with full-on standup comedy.

"This is like two of my uncles fighting at the barbecue," he said.

A longtime friend of both fighters, Snoop Dogg had no qualms about openly rooting for Jones and spent much of his time pleading for the former four-division champ to escape to safety.

"Come on, Roy. Get out of there, Roy," he yelled during a particularly one-sided exchange.

And, when Israel Adesanya suggested Jones was clinching frequently to try to frustrate the bigger, more powerful man, he contrasted with, "Come on, man. Do he really wanna frustrate Mike?" 

Overall, Snoop delivered on the mic and generated plenty of Twitter reaction.

    

Winner: The Artist Formerly Known as A.C. Slater

Just when you thought it was all nostalgic silliness, in stepped Mario Lopez.

Keeping with the theme of the night, the Saved By The Bell star is a full 31 years past his debut episode on the generational NBC sitcom, but he looked a lot closer to vintage than the other protagonists.

Of course, fans of a certain age will remember his role as A.C. Slater, which he has reprised in various Saved by the Bell spinoffs, including the sequel that premiered Wednesday on the Peacock streaming service.

Now 47, Lopez served as host of the pay-per-view broadcast, where he pivoted to Ray Leonard, Mauro Ranallo and Adesanya for ringside analysis and Jim Gray for pre- and post-fight interviews and commentary.

Lopez has long been a fan of boxing and often pops up ringside for big events in California and nearby Las Vegas.

Loser: Playing Boxing 

Don't expect Nate Robinson back in a boxing ring anytime soon.

The three-time NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion engaged YouTube superstar Jake Paul in a heated pre-fight social media debate and promised mayhem, but he wound up on the short end of a sure-to-be viral clip.

Robinson rose from knockdowns in the first and second rounds but was dropped face-first for a third time by a violent overhand right, drawing an immediate wave-off at 1:35 of the second.

A veteran of eight NBA teams from 2005-2015, Robinson was motionless on the canvas for several seconds as medical personnel rushed the ring, and he wasn't able to get up to his stool for several minutes.

"You don't play boxing," Adesanya said. "This isn't a sport; it's a lifestyle."

It was Paul's second KO win in two pro fights, coming 10 months after a first-round defeat of fellow social media champion Ali Eson Gib in Miami.

The native of Ohio, now based in California, also has more than 20 million followers on YouTube.

He landed only eight punches to Robinson's 10 but was clearly more powerful and sharper with his shots. He gave Robinson credit for having the courage to take on the challenge and followed the victory with a promise to continue, as well as a callout of MMA superstar Conor McGregor.

Paul claimed before the fight he'd bounce Robinson's head off the canvas, and he walked to the ring to Kurtis Blow's 1984 song "Basketball." 

"I wanna be in this sport for a long time. This is what I want to do," Paul said. "Fighting is something I'm great at. I found my lane. I talk a lot of s--t, but I back it up."

Winner: Doing What Favorites Do

Badou Jack isn't nearly as old as Tyson and Jones.

But at 37, he's well aware that he's closer to the end than the beginning.

So while the rest of the card was stacked with novelty acts and untested prospects, the former two-division champion was using his appearance as a springboard back to the big time.

And he did so with relentless domination, pounding overmatched U.S. Army veteran Blake McKernan like a sparring partner for nearly every minute of each round on the way to a shutout decision.

All three judges scored it 80-72 for Jack.

"This is what I'm here for," said Jack, who reigned at 168 and 175 pounds before going 0-2-1 in his last three fights prior to meeting McKernan. "I'm looking for a rematch [with Jean Pascal]."

Jack dropped a split 12-round decision to Pascal for the WBA's second-tier light heavyweight belt in December 2019 and said before meeting McKernan that a second go-round with Pascal was tentatively on the books for the first quarter of next year.

McKernan was 13-0 coming in but had beaten only four foes with records above .500.

He exited the ring with a hideous swelling around his left eye and cheekbone and was on the receiving end of 202 overall punches from Jack, including 151 power shots.

The fight could conceivably have been stopped for its one-sidedness in nearly every round after the midway point, but McKernan never went down and consistently fired back with his own punches.

"An ass-beating," Adesanya said. "No other word for it."

Winner: Pushing the Live Envelope

If you suddenly had the munchies during Saturday's show, it's understandable.

Tyson has been outspoken about smoking marijuana and has lent his name to the California-based Tyson Ranch, which began selling cannabis flower and extracts after the state enacted its recreational marijuana laws in 2018.

But it wasn't just Tyson.

Segments of the pay-per-view were sponsored by Weedmaps, an international tech company that serves the cannabis industry and has offices in the U.S., Spain and Canada.

And bumping it up a notch was Wiz Khalifa, who performed two of his past No. 1 hits—Black and Yellow and We Dem Boyz—while apparently smoking a joint during the live performance.

A grinning Lopez spilled the beans after retaking the mic.

"My man Wiz having a good time on stage," he said. "I can smell it from here."

Winner: Firing at Different Targets

Think KO shots always have to be concussive blows to the head?

Think again.

Unbeaten lightweight Jamaine Ortiz drew a collective wince from everyone watching when he drilled opponent Sulaiman Segawa with a pinpoint left hook to the liver, triggering the finishing sequence of a seventh-round TKO in their scheduled eight-rounder.

A Massachusetts-based prospect who'd never fought away from his home region, Ortiz controlled most of the action through the first six rounds with effective use of distance and sharper punches than his more frenetic foe.

He finished a combination late in the seventh with the hook to the right side of Segawa's body, which sent the Ugandan reeling backward across the ring before he took a knee.

He rose and continued after taking a mandatory eight-count but was clearly concerned with lowering his elbows to protect his body, which left his head open to the barrage that prompted the stoppage at 2:50 of the round.

Ortiz landed 28 percent of his 426 overall punches, including 40 percent of his 228 power shots.

"The persistence and the tenacity of 'The Technician' delivered a victory," Ranallo said.

              

Loser: Lil Wayne Fans

Fight cards with last-minute cancellations are nothing new.

But when the party bailing out at the 11th hour is a musical act, well, it's a bit of a novelty.

So those who plunked down their $50 for the express purpose of seeing Lil Wayne perform Saturday night were no doubt irked when the performer, according to TMZ, simply didn't board an inbound flight he'd booked in order to make it to the venue in time.

Ironically, he'd tweeted as recently as Friday that he couldn't wait "to be a part of history." 

No concrete reason was immediately provided, outside of his Saturday evening tweet blaming the absence on "unforeseeable circumstances."

Snoop Dogg, a Triller stakeholder, subbed in for a late-notice performance.

The sudden absence of Lil Wayne was not the only late edit to the main show lineup.

A bout between UFC veteran Rashad Coulter and Hasim Rahman Jr. was scrubbed Friday when Rahman, the son of another former heavyweight champion, reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. Coulter was initially scheduled to meet Viddal Riley, but Riley pulled out with an injury early in the week.

Winner: Prelim Scene-Stealers

There's an excellent chance that 99.9 percent of Saturday's viewers had no idea who was fighting.

But that didn't stop 126-pounders Edward Vasquez and Irvin Gonzalez from putting on a show.

The 25-year-old Vazquez and the 24-year-old Gonzalez had the Tyson-Jones undercard all to themselves after things got going at 8 p.m., engaging in a lively eight-rounder for something called the World Boxing Council United States Feather Title.

Vasquez earned a victory by reed-thin split decision, winning five of the eight rounds on two scorecards, while Gonzalez earned a similar nod on the dissenting third scorecard.

They combined for more than 1,000 punches over 24 minutes.

The win kept the Texan perfect at 9-0, while Gonzalez, who fights out of Worcester, Massachusetts, fell to 14-3.

Tyson vs. Jones Full Card Results

Mike Tyson drew with Roy Jones Jr. by split decision (76-76, 79-73, 76-80)

Jake Paul def. Nate Robinson by KO, 1:35, Round 2

Badou Jack def. Blake McKernan by unanimous decision (80-72, 80-72, 80-72)

Jamaine Ortiz def. Sulaiman Segawa by TKO, 2:50, Round 7

Edward Vasquez def. Irvin Gonzalez by split decision (77-75, 75-77, 77-75)