LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 28: Mike Tyson reacts after receiving a split draw against Roy Jones Jr. during Mike Tyson vs Roy Jones Jr. presented by Triller at Staples Center on November 28, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Triller)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 28: Mike Tyson reacts after receiving a split draw against Roy Jones Jr. during Mike Tyson vs Roy Jones Jr. presented by Triller at Staples Center on November 28, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Triller)

Snoop bomb shows sad Tyson truth

Mike Tyson said he wants to fight again after his controversial draw with Roy Jones Jr - and it's the saddest part of his blockbuster return to the ring.

Tyson, who hadn't fought in a sanctioned fight in more than 5000 days, captivated the world all over again, despite his fight with Jones never reaching any dramatic crescendo.

The 54-year-old and Jones, 51, did enough to justify their highly anticipated returns - and in doing so they have legitimised Tyson's Legends Only League to the eternal detriment of boxing.

Side show alley exhibition fights and cheap gimmicks are sellable pay per view packages - and it doesn't take a genius to realise the sporting world is about to see a rush of washed up athletes step into the ring to make a cheap buck.

The spectacle was best summed up by rap icon Snoop Dogg in commentary: "This is like two of my uncles fighting at the BBQ".

Entertaining. Captivating. Ultimately awkward. Sad.

The counter-argument came from boxing Hall of Famer George Foreman, who posted on Twitter after the fight: "Best exhibition I have ever seen".

The Tyson-Jones Jr event shows big-name retired athletes stand to make huge money - much more than some world champions can even command for their title fights - by stepping into the ring.

The Tyson-Jones Jr fight purse was worth an extraordinary $17 million - with Tyson reportedly taking home more than $13 million.

Promotion company Ttriller announced in the week leading up to the fight that the event had a record number of pre-fight pay-per-view sales in the United States.

The trend is already alive and well in Australia. The market for former football stars ending their careers with a step into the ring is thriving. Business is very good. Just like Barry Hall and Paul Gallen's rumble last year, there is huge interest in watching retired athletes fight.

The spectacle has never delivered on the hype. But sales are made on the hype, not the result or the product itself.

And Tyson, one of the most dangerous punchers the world has ever known, hooked the world into going for one final ride to see the former world champion in action.

The only problem is it's clearly not his final ride.

Tyson has big plans and said after the fight he is already planning his next card and wants Jones Jr to be there, either as his opponent or as a co-main event fighting someone else.

Combat sports journalist Lance Pugmire told The Athletic, Tyson's next step is to turn his own fight league into a serious promotion company - not just a cheap gimmick.

"He's all about his new enterprise, the Legends Only League," Pugmire wrote.

"While he goaded Jones to return following the disaster of the draw, Tyson's nemesis, Evander Holyfield, has sought out a trilogy bout and other retirees will raise their hands to show there's something left in the old tanks.

"Once they see the pay-per-view numbers from a card that was the talk of social media, expect a full-fledged Tyson rebirth.

"It was an impossible ask to expect the 54-year-old Tyson and 51-year-old Jones to magically revert to their primes. But for those of us familiar with the reality of a body's behaviour post-50, it was an occasional trip back in time to see the fierceness in Tyson's eyes, the power of his rib-damaging body shots and Jones' infrequent evasiveness. They fulfilled their own expectations, and that has to be good enough."

It was good enough without being great - and, even with Tyson activating beast mode after shedding more than 60kg - that's an enthralling entree, but a sour main course.

Now promoters know fans will fork out their cash to watch the wild, anything-can-happen, rollercoaster of boxing's legends trying to turn back the clock, fans will have to get used to it for a long time to come.

After seeing a few rounds of the action, which started with a bang as Tyson came out swinging from the first bell, legendary boxing commentator Bob Sheridan said: "They're truly legends, but they're shadows of their former selves".

Settle in, the world will be shadow boxing for many years to come.

Originally published as Snoop bomb shows sad Tyson truth


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