That there would be no winner was clear long before the show fight between Mike Tyson and Roy Jones junior. Nevertheless, there was a brief moment of confusion at the Los Angeles Staples Center when the eight two-minute laps were completed. Referee Ray Corona asked both boxers to come in the middle and grab their wrists, then stretch one arm in the air, both as a makeshift measure. The way you do that after a boxing match. The cameras were waiting for the moment. …but then the director suddenly switched away.
It was the moment when all those involved – boxers, their coaches, association representatives, TV crew and also the spectators – were pulled back from the dream world into reality. Although you could believe it by now, Tyson and Jones junior had not fought a boxing match. It was not about any title, not about victory or defeat, not even about proving to the other who was better, stronger, faster or more skilful. So the event robbed boxing of its existentialist core. Of course, the protagonists could have been seriously injured in spite of everything, but they were not interested in risking their health for the hope of a better life.
Tyson and Jones Jr. had not fought against each other, but with each other. For a good cause, since Tyson had announced in advance that he would donate a large part of his stock exchange to educational projects, among other things. But above all against their age, physical decay and the feeling of no longer being needed as ex-professionals.
The younger one seemed to be much older, but they only succeeded to a certain extent. Tyson’s movements actually seemed surprisingly smooth for a 54-year-old and brought back faint memories of the phenomenon that had swept through the boxing world from the mid-1980s onwards with the elemental force of an all-destroying hurricane. The former heavyweight world champion hinted at the rapid pendulum movements that no one has mastered to this day like him, and set the odd hook or two. But he did not develop the old destructive power.
With Jones Jr. it was a different story. Although he is three years younger than Tyson, he looked much older in the ring. Even the former middleweight dominator, who was simply invincible in the 1990s and around the turn of the millennium because of his crazy pace and ring intelligence, tried to imitate his earlier style with the concise “shoulder roll defense” and low-hanging fists. But what seemed like a reminiscence of earlier, better days for Tyson was distorted into a less than successful persiflage for Jones junior, with the difference between the two becoming particularly clear during the lap breaks. While Tyson seemed calm and exchanged views with his team, Jones junior could be seen to be suffering from the unusual efforts. He puffed, pinched his eyes together in pain and didn’t give the impression that he would ever want to get up from the small stool on which he was only supposed to rest for a minute. And that already after the first round.
“You still got it, man “Since Tyson seemed to notice that and didn’t want to hurt his opponent seriously, he always seemed to pull back a little at crucial moments. Jones Jr. also used his still very keen sense of situations in the ring to prevent many offensive actions by clenching. The greatest highlights were provided by rapper Snoop Dogg, who as co-commentator openly expressed what he thought: “This is like a fight between my uncles at a barbecue. When one person says to the other, “Come on, let’s go out to the backyard and settle this. And the rest of us are like, “Hey, Grandma, they’re fighting again.”
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