Two of the greatest boxers to ever step in the ring—Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr.—will square off in an eight-round exhibition on Sept. 12 in Carson, California.
Former MMA fighter Chael Sonnen is excited to see the match, but he doesn’t like that it’s being billed as a fight for charity.
“Roy’s not going to lie about it. This is for profit,” Sonnen told JR SportBrief last week. “You’re not getting in there with Mike Tyson [for charity]. I wouldn’t get in with him either if there wasn’t some money on the line. To act as though it’s for charity, though, what a joke. I’m disappointed in that. They’re pretending this is for charity; shame on them. It’s not.”
Jones Jr. responded to Sonnen’s claims Monday on CBS Sports Radio.
“First thing is, I don’t know why people always have [to] negative talk about anything, No. 1,” Jones Jr. told JR SportBrief. “But No. 2, I wanted to fight Mike Tyson. He’s the only heavyweight I would have fought after I won the title back in 2003. Mike Tyson is a legend in his own right and one of the biggest, most powerful names to ever come through heavyweight boxing. So I knew that he was the only heavyweight I would take my chances against after I fought John Ruiz.
“Now with the pandemic going on, people don’t have no sports,” Jones Jr. continued. “[They] have nothing to look at. Why would I not still get in the ring with Mike Tyson if people want to see it? There are way more positive people that want to see it than there are negative. . . . The opportunity came, and I’m taking advantage of it.”
The 54-year-old Tyson (50-6, 44 KOs) last fought in 2005, losing to Kevin McBride. Jones, meanwhile, last fought in 2018, beating Scott Sigmon in a cruiserweight bout. The 51-year-old is 66-9 with 47 KOs.
“His feet should not be nearly as fast as they were back then,” Jones Jr. said of Tyson’s heyday, “but he will be just as powerful, if not even more powerful. I’m in pretty good shape, but I still need to work to get into better shape. I was in good shape, but not fight shape. Now I get in fight shape. To get in fight shape, you got to get these legs prepared because Mike is not a person you want to stand there toe-to-toe with the first two or three rounds; you got to stay away from him at least two or three rounds. He’s deadly all night, but he’s even more deadly those first two or three rounds.”