It may be little more than a glorified sparring session, but the betting on Mike Tyson versus Roy Jones Jr has commenced and online bookmakers are siding with ‘Iron Mike’.
Two of the biggest names in boxing history will meet in an ‘exhibition fight’ on September 12 in Los Angeles, and SportNation are the first to open a book, siding with Tyson at 5/7.
That makes Jones Jr – the younger man but also the smaller – a 21/20 slight underdog in a fight many appear to be looking forward to despite the two fighters’ advancing years.
Tyson is 54 and has not fought since losing to Irishman Kevin McBride in 2005, while 51-year old Jones has kept himself busy at a low level over the years without properly retiring, last fighting in 2018.
The California State Athletic Commission have stressed that this is not a real, sanctioned fight, and its status as an exhibition means both fighters will be encouraged not to attempt to knock each other out.
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However, boxers do get knocked out in sparring all the time and once gloves start to land, instinct could take over and big blows could start to land.
There is an element of doubt over how bookmakers plan to settle bets though, since knockouts will be discouraged and no judges will be present to score the bout. It’s not confirmed if there will be a referee in the ring, but if there is the decision will likely fall on he or she.
As if the novelty of the main attraction wasn’t enough, former New York Nicks guard Nate Robinson and YouTube star Jake Paul will fight on the undercard.
In December 2018, former five-weight champion Floyd Mayweather beat Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa inside the first of three scheduled rounds of boxing.
Despite being an exhibition, the fight generated $9million and may now act as a blueprint for aging fighters to prolong their career earnings.