Mike Tyson vs Roy Jones Jr circus has made the veterans rich but leaves fans all the poorer after ghosts do battle

MIKE TYSON and Roy Jones Jr got back to their US homes late on Saturday fitter and richer for their efforts but we are all poorer for it.

Under a cloud of thick cannabis smoke, following inter-fight raps and spliffs from Snoop Dogg and Whizz Khalifa, the event that was supposed to help inspire a new generation of young kids into boxing gyms huffed and puffed but blew nobody away.


50-something legends Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr boosted their bank balances but perhaps weakened the reputation of boxing with their bout[/caption]


Comeback veterans Roy Jones Jr and Mike Tyson both seemed happy with the draw[/caption]


Rapper Snoop Dogg provided some of the entertainment on a hazy, crazy night for boxing[/caption]

Just hours earlier British boxing fans had watched 23-year-old lifetime boxer Daniel Dubois suffer a sickening eye injury in a 30-minute Westminster battle with brilliant Olympian Joe Joyce.

And, a few minutes prior to the headline circus act, the pay-per-view buyers had to watch a former basketball player lay prostrate on the California ring twitching worryingly as medics scooped him off the canvas.

Both contrasting examples highlighted why pitching two retired icons, with 105 years and countless injuries between them, into a confusing money-grab ‘fight’ was wrong.

The BT Sport analysis team that worked overnight deserve credit for risking future paydays by slamming the three knockdowns YouTube prankster Jake Paul inflicted on Nate Robinson.

British commentator Ronald Macintosh – a champion of the amateur code – had to plead with the US TV feed to stop zooming in on hapless Robinson lying battered and broken on the canvas in his first and hopefully only pro bout.

There was no hiding or photoshopping the fact that all the hyper-edited promotional pics that had been plastered over the internet could not cover up the state of the two iconic combatants.

Tyson’s tattooed face looked lost before the bell and Jones’ once lazer-fast body was soft and almost matronly.

When the ‘action’ started, it resembled two long-lost uncles dancing together at a family wedding.

Tyson had lost all of his timing and range but Jones could at least still showboat with trick potshots and a couple of rapid combinations.

The lack of a crowd in the Staples Centre meant the heavy breathing – far more suited to other PPV channels available in the night’s darkest hours – howled through our laptops.

The referee had to repeatedly ask the two fifty somethings to stop cuddling and start boxing.

AP:Associated Press

American fight icons Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr went eight rounds in a bout unofficially called a draw by WBC judges[/caption]

AP:Associated Press

Roy Jones Jr, 51, hits back at 54-year-old Mike Tyson at Staples Center[/caption]

But anyone who idolised the two superstars in yesteryear found the gloved hugfest a welcome relief.

The argument that raged over whether a sensational KO would be allowed was drowned out almost instantly by the sound of the wheezing lungs and OTT cornermen spouting Hollywood nonsense that would be even too sickly for the Rocky cutting room floor.

For all the brilliant nights these two men gave the sport, nobody has the right to tell them when to quit.

If the numbers tot up right then promoters and broadcasters will flog us this dead horse again very soon.

But let’s never fall for the circus schtick again that ghosts of boxing greats can roll back 30 years or – as some of the most desperate bull**** merchants have pedaled –  mix it with the modern-day monsters like Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury.

Put these brilliant men and their peers, from any sport, in lengthy documentaries, spellbinding books, movies, theatres, TV studios and let us learn from their genius – we will buy it.

But don’t put them in a boxing ring, with their tops off and hairlines retreating, and tell us we are watching anything other than an exhibition in cash grabbing – because we shouldn’t.


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