Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr will bid to turn back the clock when they return to the ring on Saturday night for their exhibition bout in Los Angeles.
The controversial showdown between two great former champions now in their 50s has been met with understandable criticism, but record pre-fight pay-per-view sales have been reported.
Former world heavyweight champion Iron Mike, 54, who has not boxed professionally for 15 years, has shed an impressive six stones for a scheduled eight-round contest on Thanksgiving Day at the Staples Center.
Jones Jr’s comeback has raised fewer eye brows. He was still boxing in 2018 and won his last four fights, although his stoppage of Jeff Lacy in 2008 was his last notable success.
The 51-year-old is a former world champion at four different weights – middleweight, super-middleweight, light-heavyweight and heavyweight.
Jones Jr is considered one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in history and is the only man to start his professional career at light middleweight and go on to win a heavyweight title.
Tyson’s legacy as “the baddest man on the planet” is somewhat diminished, but he is still the youngest boxer to win a world heavyweight title after his destruction of Trevor Berbick in 1986 aged 20.
Saturday’s meeting between the two has divided opinion. Those fight fans who will applaud Tyson and Jones Jr into the ring will claim the contest is full of intrigue.
But the bout is an exhibition. It will not be scored and no knock downs will be permitted, leading to claims from many observers, including fight promoter Frank Warren, that it is a meaningless sparring session between two past-it warriors.
The undercard features YouTuber Jake Paul’s bout with former NBA star Nate Robinson, while former two-weight world champion Badou Jack takes on unbeaten cruiserweight Blake McKernan.
Rappers Lil Wayne and Wiz Khalifa, plus singer Ne-Yo are among those scheduled to perform between bouts.
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