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Monday, November 23, 2020

Mike Tyson returns to the ring: Two-min rounds, 12-ounce gloves, a ‘belt’ up for grabs

What will happen when ‘Iron’ Mike returns to action after 15 years? What’s there to box for on November 28, and who else is there to see?

By: Explained Desk | New Delhi | Updated: November 6, 2020 12:45:38 pm
Mike Tyson, Mike Tyson roy jones jr fight, Mike Tyson return, Mike Tyson fight, Indian Express The former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson during a workout in Phoenix on June 18, 2004. (The New York Times: Jeff Topping)

It’s been a busy year for Mike Tyson, and an even busier week. In July, after drumming up interest through numerous selfies and training montages, the boxing legend announced a return against Roy Jones Jr.,

And on Thursday (October 29), days after chatting with Indian yogi Sadhguru and dropping an EDM (Electronic Dance Music) number, Tyson addressed the media along with opponent Roy Jones Jr to talk more about the exhibition bout.

Two-minute rounds

The eight-round exhibition bout — originally scheduled for September 12 in Carson, California — will take place on November 28 at the Staples Center behind closed doors.

Tyson, 54, hasn’t fought since losing to Kevin McBride on June 11, 2005. Jones has been retired for less than 30 months, but is 51 years old.

When asked about the round lengths, both Tyson and Jones were seemingly annoyed and compared the two-minute rounds to women’s boxing. “I’m not happy at all. That’s for women. Why we doing two-minute rounds?” Jones said.

Tyson added: “I’m sure they have their reasons for doing it. But you know, women fight for two minutes.”

Professional men’s rounds usually last for three minutes. Pro boxing stars Katie Taylor and Nicola Adams have called for women’s fights to adopt the same round lengths. 📣 Express Explained is now on Telegram

Also read | When and how you can see ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson in action again

Exhibition or fight

It is decidedly an exhibition bout, and California commission officials have reiterated that Tyson and Jones shouldn’t be trying to hurt each other. The plan is to stop the bout if either fighter is cut or significantly injured.

But that hasn’t stopped the two fighters from trying to sell the contest as a fight.

“Not a real fight? It’s Mike Tyson versus Roy Jones,” Tyson said. “I’m coming to fight and I hope he’s coming to fight and that’s all you need to know.”

Jones added: “Who goes in the ring with the great, legendary Mike Tyson and thinks it’s an exhibition? Twelve-ounce gloves? No headgear? Really? This is an exhibition? Come on. Be real.”

The two boxers won’t be wearing headgear. But the switch to twelve-ounce gloves is safety-oriented. Heavyweight professional boxers generally use 10-ounce gloves in fights, and 12-ounce variants for pads and light sparring.

Extra weight means extra padding. So larger gloves take longer to compress, and have more surface area which spreads the impact of a blow to reduce peak stresses/pressures on the body.

Also in Explained | How ‘Christmas shopping’ cost a world champion a shot at the Tokyo Olympics gold

What’s at stake

World Boxing Council (WBC) was the first governing body to throw a belt in the ring, creating a WBC Frontline Battle Belt for the winner.

Tyson is hinting at a legitimate boxing comeback, but the bout is considered to be a marketing vehicle for his Legends Only League (LOL) venture.

“Legends Only League will support athletes in their individual sports, creating some of the most epic competitions, products and live events in the world,” Tyson said in a press release in July. “It’s always been a dream of mine to create, build, and honour athletes. All athletes live to follow their dreams and fight for excellence. It’s something that is inherent in each of us and that drive never goes away.”

The specifics of LOL remain vague.

The undercard

The three prelim fights feature exciting prospects such as lightweight Jamaine Ortiz and featherweight Edward Vasquez, but the Tyson v Jones comprises gimmicky exhibitions.

In the cruiserweight co-main event, YouTuber Jake Paul will take on former NBA player Nate Robinson. Paul made his pro-boxing debut in January, knocking out fellow Internet personality ‘AnEsonGib’ in the first round. The 23-year-old beat another YouTuber Deji in an amateur bout in 2018.

Other than a few videos featuring Robinson hitting the mitts, not much is known about the 36-year-old’s boxing skills. Another undercard match-up pits Viddal Riley against Rashad Coulter. Rapper/YouTuber Riley was a silver medallist at the EUBC European Junior Boxing Championships in 2013 for England. American Coulter is a former UFC fighter with an MMA record of 9 wins and 5 losses.

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