Shades of vintage Mike Tyson appear ahead of pay-per-view showdown vs. Roy Jones

Kevin Iole
·Combat columnist
·4-min read

Roy Jones’ voice raised several octaves and he sounded righteously indignant.

There has been a lot of speculation about what his Nov. 28 bout against Mike Tyson, which is officially classified as an exhibition, will be like.

After a news conference, Jones spoke on the phone to Yahoo Sports. He was asked if he believed that, despite the protestations of Andy Foster, the executive officer of the California State Athletic Commission who has been adamant the fight would be no more than “hard sparring,” whether he felt Tyson would attempt to knock him out.

“Are you crazy with this?” Jones asked. “Of course he is! This is Mike Tyson we’re talking about here, man. This is Mike Tyson. You think he’s going to go out there and say, ‘Oh, I can’t hit too hard because the guy from the commission is going to be angry?’ No. No way is he going to do that. This is a fight and I have to be ready for that.”

The former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world certainly sounded during a conference call on Thursday as if he were back in his prime, when he was intimidating legendary champions like Michael Spinks and building a reputation as perhaps the most fearsome heavyweight who ever lived.

There have been many ferocious and fearsome heavyweights before him, including a young George Foreman, Sonny Liston, Jack Dempsey and others, but Tyson put himself in a class by himself in his prime.

And on the call, Tyson sounded just like he did before he annihilated Spinks in 91 seconds in 1988 or when he won the title from Trevor Berbick in 1986 or like he did earlier in 1986 when, before a fight with Jesse Ferguson, he mused about how he enjoyed punching a guy on the tip of the nose to push the bone into his brain.

“Listen, I don’t know what [Foster’s] talking about that this is not a real fight,” Tyson said. “You got Mike Tyson and Roy Jones and I’m coming to fight and I hope he’s coming to fight. That’s all you need to know.”

UNDATED: Mike Tyson raises his fists after winning  a bout. (Photo by Focus on Sport via Getty Images)
Mike Tyson sounded a lot like the Mike Tyson of the '80s on a recent conference call to promote his Nov. 28 exhibition match against Roy Jones. (Photo by Focus on Sport via Getty Images)

Tyson: ‘My mindset is totally bliss’

A 15-year-old girl who boxes was allowed to ask Tyson a question, and she wanted to know what his mindset would be like when the bell rings.

He gave a vintage Tyson answer, something straight out of the ’80s.

“My mindset is totally bliss,” he said. “This is something I’ve done all my life, since I was 13 years old. My objective is to go in there with the best intentions of my life to, you know, disable my opponent. That’s what it is.”

If you were around during Tyson’s peak after he defeated Berbick to become the youngest champion until he shockingly lost to Buster Douglas in Japan in 1990, if you closed your eyes and listened to those words, they easily could have come from ’87, ’88 or ’89.

If nothing else, Tyson hasn’t forgotten how to sell a pay-per-view.

There is a chance that this pay-per-view show, which has a hodgepodge collection of bouts on its undercard, could wind up being the second- or third-best-selling boxing PPV of the year.

Think about that: One guy, who is 54 and hasn’t fought in 15 years and hasn’t won in more than 17 years, is fighting a guy who is 51 and could outsell pay-per-views involving legitimate world-class boxers.

Tyson looks great on the video clips of his training that are put out. His body is in better shape than it’s been in a while and he looks quick. But there is nobody in front of him trying to hit him back and it’s hard to judge how quick he really remains.

Nobody is suggesting he’s about to make a comeback into, for lack of a better term, real boxing. But he said he’s going to keep doing these exhibitions for his “Legends League” as long as they’re raising money for charity and people have interest.

Don’t expect to see Tyson challenging Tyson Fury or Anthony Joshua any time soon. At the same time, though, don’t be shocked if you’re seeing a lot more of Iron Mike in the next year or so.

Once a fighter, always a fighter. In the case of Michael Gerard Tyson, nothing has ever been truer.

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