Pump the brakes on the Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr. hype

Fans around the world are buzzing with the recent announcement of a Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr. boxing match, but don’t forget it’s an exhibition. 

Mike Tyson got his name trending on Twitter and around the world when news broke of his upcoming fight with fellow retired boxing legend Roy Jones Jr., but fans need to curb their expectations.

The buzz created by Tyson vs. Jones Jr.’s Sept. 12 matchup proves Tyson’s name is arguably the most marketable and popular in all of boxing, even at the age of 54. His Herculean accomplishments, combined with his tumultuous career and personal life, make him a mercurial legend with a unique aura rarely found in most people.

Tyson continues to fascinate because of the frenetic path of his life. He’s unpredictable in ways that have been troubling in the past but are endearing in the present. Tyson’s life has been an open book. There have been many books shedding light on his inner-being, but Tyson laid bare his soul in his autobiography Undisputed Truth, which was also a film and one-man performance.

Tyson teased the public for months with training videos suggesting that he’s making a comeback. On Friday, July 23, phase one of his comeback being an eight-round exhibition bout with 51-year-old Jones Jr. crashed into the media like a tsunami, and people are overwhelmed with the specter of seeing two of the all-time greatest boxers share the ring.

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Betting sites are setting odds on the victor. Some wonder if Tyson could monopolize his exhibition into rebirth as the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. The nostalgic weight of Tyson’s name is allowing people’s minds to escape the world of reality and delude themselves with reverie.

Don’t get it twisted, this fantasy matchup is a well-orchestrated business move on Tyson’s part, and Jones is going along for the ride. Tyson launched his Legends Only League the same day as his fight news, which includes this contest.

According to the short promotion video, Tyson’s Legends Only League will provide former great athletes the opportunity to compete at their respective sports alongside other former greats. Think of it as an exhibition ground for senior former all-stars.

Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr. is capturing the public’s attention and imagination, but remember, it’s all business.

Tyson has other businesses that can only be bolstered by his increasing popularity including his Tyson Ranch. The concept behind the ranch is that it will be one part resort, marijuana dispensary, and Tyson museum.

Think of it as Tyson’s Dollywood except with weed and hotel accommodations for guests. He also has an office, studio, and training facility. YouTube personality and boxing analyst ShowBizz the Adult recently filmed the facility for his subscribers.

Tyson’s physical rejuvenation is key to his renewed wonder and to selling his league and fight with Jones. It provides a glimmer of what made him a knockout sensation in his youth. Even past middle age, Tyson still has skills, power, and boxing ability. It’s just that some of those elements are faded due to time.

He’s also using a portion of the profits of all of these ventures as charitable donations to help those who are homeless and to support substance abuse rehabilitation programs, which are noble causes.

Boxing is the sport of spectacle and hype. They’re needed to build and sell the most prominent events. Tyson is proving that he’s capable of being one of the best hype men in the business.

Tyson legitimately got himself into excellent shape. He probably does have a fire within to relive some of his glory days, but without the baggage of mental and emotional demons that plagued him during his rise and eventual decline as a boxer.

Today, Tyson is in a much better place. This is the apex of his phoenix-like rise, which has been building over the last several years. An exhibition with Jones serves as a business move but also a chance for Tyson to have fun boxing again, but without the stresses of a professional career. Don’t treat this event as anything more than that.

Tyson is a smart individual who has a wealth of wisdom. He’s a boxing historian who knows all of its pitfalls. He has stepped into many of them but found a way to climb his way out of the depths that have swallowed other legends.

Enjoy the Tyson vs. Jones Jr. exhibition for what it is, fun. Don’t try to think of it as a competitive, legitimate boxing match. Yahoo Sports! and boxing writer Manouk Akopyan both talked to California State Athletic Commissioner Andy Foster, who told both of them that bigger gloves, no scoring, and no winner would be declared.

They will hit each other and want to look good. Nobody wants to be embarrassed in front of the world. But don’t get lost in nostalgia. This is an exhibition, not a serious fight, regardless of all the hype videos that will be released over the next month and a half.

Tyson vs. Jones Jr. would have been an electric main event in 1996 closer to the height of their physical prowess. Now, it’s a fun fantasy camp for fans to enjoy two of their favorite heroes. It’s best to leave it at that.