Jones vs Tyson: Boxing’s Seniors Tour
The two fellows who will step into the boxing ring at the Staples Center for the main event of the Nov. 28 fight card there aren’t grandfathers yet, though they’re certainly old enough to be considered grandfatherly.
Most certainly, they must serve as inspirations to grandfathers everywhere.
Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, 54, is ending a 15-year retirement to fight an eight-round exhibition bout against Roy Jones, 51, who’s been a world champion in five weight classes from middleweight through heavyweight. Tyson is the favorite to win the fight.
They will make some acknowledgments to Father Time. For instance, each round of the fight will be limited to two minutes rather than the usual three-minutes in length. But it’s still boxing. It isn’t baseball. It’s not basketball.
As a kid, you never gathered up your friends and suggested they all go to the park and play boxing. That’s because boxing is dangerous. When these two ancient warriors climb through the ropes, at least one of them could – and quite possibly will – get hurt.
A Pair Of Chiseled Specimens
With their respective accomplishments, no one would’ve faulted either man were they to opt to sit back in a rocking chair, sip some sweet ice tea and reminisce about the good, old days. However, that’s just not part of their DNA.
With the help of his wife Lahika, Tyson made the necessary changes to repair his health.
When they doff their shirts, neither Tyson nor Jones looks like the typical 50-something. They are physical specimens who belie their actual age. In Tyson’s case, that wasn’t always the case. Just two years ago, he was borderline obese.
“At one time I was just 90 lbs. overweight, I was doing cocaine, I was drinking and I said, ‘Allah if he can stop me from being this way, I’ll change my whole life,’” Tyson told TMZ Sports. “And eventually, I got married, my life started to change, and I started working out.”
With the help of his wife Lahika, Tyson made the necessary changes to repair his health. He began eating healthier, opting for nutrition that was based on a Vegan diet. It wasn’t done with the notion of fighting again but that’s what it has ultimately led to for Tyson, who returned to working out in the gym and found his punch still carried significant power.
“My brother in law said, ‘Hey listen. I know you don’t want to fight, but would you fight Bob Sapp?’” Tyson recalled.
“‘Somebody wants to offer you a lot of money to fight him.’ I said, ‘Get out of here. I told you I don’t want to fight anymore.’”
“And then I thought about it in my mind and went ‘ding’ – I said I would fight and for some reason, it went from Bob Sapp to somebody else, and this guy, and the next thing you know, I’m fighting Roy Jones Jr.
“I don’t know how this happened. I’m just very grateful that I’m not living the life that I was living before. Allah has blessed for me to be able to do this.”
A Different Man
Tyson isn’t merely a changed man physically. He’s clearly found inner peace. This is no longer the always-angry fellow who was billed as the baddest man on the planet when he reigned over heavyweight boxing in the 1980s and early 1990s.
“This is not my life anymore,” Tyson said during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live. “I’m here to make things happy and make this a better place. I want to die with a good conscience.”
“I look at it from a perspective of gratitude. I learned about gratitude as I got older.”
In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Tyson discussed the manner in which his life has evolved.
“This is a different kind of living for me,” Tyson explained to SI. “I’m used to being a bachelor. Even when I was married before (Lahika is Tyson’s third wife), I would have a house here, and there would be a house in D.C. or New York.
“The fact that I have a family base, my father-in-law comes in, my kids run up and down, this is their playroom. They come into me and my wife’s room. This is my life now.
“I look at it from a perspective of gratitude. I learned about gratitude as I got older. That’s a pretty strong stimulant.”
With age comes wisdom. Even to Iron Mike.