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Mike Tyson vs Roy Jones Jr: Comparing the Legacies

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We are almost here. It’s fight week. Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. are set to go head-to-head in a Pay Per View extravaganza on Saturday night.

It’s almost surreal that an exhibition boxing match between two 50-year-old fighters would be such a draw. At 54-years-old, Tyson’s professional boxing career concluded 15 years ago.

However, for Jones Jr, the fight has continued long past the now-51-year-old’s prime, last officially fighting and winning in 2018.

While it was painted as a chance for two of the most-hyped boxers of all-time to meet finally, everyone has seen this as a chance to cash-in on the resurgence of boxing. Both boxers were set to get around $10 million if the pay-per-view figures were strong enough, per Sportekz. On the bright side, though, it’s a far better example than the UFC-boxing crossover or the YouTube “fights.”

Both legendary pugilists earned their places in the history books. It’s because of their greatness in the ring and works out of the ring that they were able to clash for such a colossal payday.

Here’s how their grand legacies weigh-in, regardless of the exhibition result.

Legends of the ring

Starting his career in 1985, Mike Tyson burst onto the heavyweight scene as an 18-year-old. He flew through 15 foes in the space of one year and arrived on TV 11 months after his professional debut.

At 20 years and four months old, ‘Iron Mike’ won his first world title in just the second round against Trevor Berbick. In the process, establishing himself as a must-watch attraction.

At 5’10’’, Tyson was shorter than most of his opponents and certainly didn’t offer the towering presence that heavyweight champions of the two decades prior provided.

Instead, the Brooklyn brawler weighed-in with tremendous strength and absurdly fast hands. His crouching style further propelled all just before throwing power shots. As detailed by ESPN, he was a one-person show.

Still the youngest-ever heavyweight champion, he ended his career in 2005 as a two-time world champion. At one time, the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

Along the way, his career was mired by controversy, convictions, and ear-biting, but that only propelled Tyson into the spotlight as an icon of popular culture and the recognized ‘Baddest Man on the Planet,’ ending with a 50-6 record.


Roy Jones Jr’s rise to prominence was far more conventional than Tyson’s but wasn’t any less spectacular.

At the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, he lost by split decision to the Korea Republic’s Si-Hun Park in the light-middleweight final, turning professional in 1989.

He went 21-0 before beating Bernard Hopkins in a very one-sided affair for the IBF World middleweight title.

Next, Jones Jr claimed the IBF World super middleweight crown by ousting James Toney in 1994. Then Mike McCallum for the WBC World light heavyweight title in 1996 – a division which he would go on to become the undisputed, four-belt champion.

Mike Tyson Roy Jones Jr

@miketyson / @royjonesjr

In 2003, the former middleweight did the seemingly impossible: he stepped up to the heavyweight division. RJJ outclassed world champion John Ruiz to land the WBA strap.

After defeating Ruiz and contentiously defeating Antonio Tarver, Jones Jr lost seven of his next 12 fights. Those reverses included two official losses to Tarver and one to Joe Calzaghe. Another to the once-conquered Hopkins.

The Floridian has remained active, lacing up the gloves eight times in the last five years to hold a 66-9 professional record.

Cemented as celebrities

The whole reason why two 50-year-olds can command a good $10 million each for an exhibition fight is that they are both fondly remembered as great boxers. Tyson and Jones are still household names to this day.

Most people who don’t follow boxing know of Mike Tyson, with his name, image, and persona continually being drawn from and used in modern pop-culture.

Way back in 1984, he featured in the revolutionary Punch-Out!! A video game where he was the ultimate boss level. It’s still hailed as one of the best boxing games of all time, with Tyson becoming even more legendary for his involvement. The legendary boxer has recently released his own title in the newest popular gaming form, online slots. Online Casinos details a range of the best platforms available and looks at the latest games, with one of those titles being the colossal Mike Tyson: Knockout, in which you spin alongside ‘Iron Mike’ himself.


The two-time heavyweight champion has also featured in many, many movies. Sometimes playing himself, as in The Hangover franchise. He’s also taken on a couple of acting roles, including the underground gangster in Ip Man 3.

Like Tyson, Roy Jones Jr has also made his way onto the big screen. Along with appearing as himself in Southpaw, Creed II, and Grudge Match, the four-weight world champion also played Captain Ballard in The Matrix Reloaded. He even lent his voice to the video game, Enter the Matrix.

Throughout the 00s, while competing for world titles, Jones Jr also staked a place in the massive rap scene. He released several solo singles, such as Y’all Must’ve Forgot, and formed the group Body Head Bangerz. With the group, which is still active today, he released the album Volume One. It featured Can’t Be Touched and I Smoke, I Drank (Remix).

Given the immense legacies already established by Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr, the exhibition bout will likely go down as little more than a footnote.

That said, it further proves how great the two boxers were. The lasting impact they’ve had on the public.

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