Tyson v Jones Jr: Two boxing legends and the shock defeats in their storied careers

By Sports Desk November 23, 2020

Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr return to the ring on Saturday, the two all-time greats facing each other in an exhibition contest.

Whether you believe this to be a post-Thanksgiving treat or a sporting turn-off, considering they have a combined age of 105, the contest cannot help but evoke memories of past achievements.

Tyson is a former undisputed heavyweight champion who was dubbed 'The Baddest Man on the Planet', while Jones won world titles at four different weights in a storied career in the paid ranks that spanned four decades.

However, as is often the case with fighters, the final chapters can expose the harsh realities of stepping between the ropes.

Ahead of their clash in California, scheduled to take place over eight two-minute rounds, we recall the defeats during the latter years that stunned the boxing world.

MIKE TYSON

Lennox Lewis - The Pyramid, Memphis (June 8, 2002)

A fight long talked about between two greats in the heavyweight division finally materalised in June 2002 – though not before a further slight delay. Originally scheduled for April in the same year, a press conference brawl forced the date to be pushed back. 

The pair, as well as their entourages, became involved in an altercation on stage to promote their upcoming meeting. WBC president Jose Sulaiman was knocked unconscious during the melee, while Tyson drew first blood – quite literally – by biting Lewis' leg. 

As for the actual fighting in the ring, Lewis dominated. While deducted a point for pushing, the penalty did not matter as the Briton negated the need for checking the scorecards, recording a knockout win in the eighth round. A bloodied and bruised Tyson made it back onto one knee but failed to beat the count.

Danny Williams - Freedom Hall State Fairground, Louisville (July 30, 2004)

Tyson knocked out Clifford Etienne inside a minute in his first outing after losing to Lewis, raising the prospect of a lucrative rematch.  

However, the American did not fight in the ring for the remainder of the year, instead becoming embroiled in legal battles. He filed for bankruptcy in August 2003 but did finally get the chance to continue his career the following July.  

For the relatively unknown Williams, it was a chance of a lifetime. The Briton weathered an early storm in Kentucky to secure a famous victory with a fourth-round stoppage. Tyson - hampered by a knee injury suffered during the bout - started brightly but faded fast and, after slumping down to sit against the ropes, was counted out.

Kevin McBride - MCI Center, Washington (June 11, 2005)

After nearly a year off, Tyson returned to action against McBride with a new trainer and a renewed energy - or so it seemed. Having called his opponent a "tomato can" prior to the bout, 'Iron Mike' ended up being crushed. 

McBride used his frame to stifle and sap the energy from a faded force in Tyson, who had had two points deducted in the sixth for a headbutt. He finished that round on his backside, albeit the trip to the canvas was not ruled a knockdown. It did not matter, though.  

Having reached his corner, Tyson did not emerge again for the start of the next round. One of the most feared fighters in his prime was finished, in more ways than one.

ROY JONES JR

Antonio Tarver - Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas (May 15, 2004)

Jones became the first fighter to start out at light-middleweight and go on to win a world title at heavyweight when he defeated John Ruiz on points, further cementing his legacy as one of the all-time greats.  

He dropped back down to light-heavy for his next outing, the first episode in a trilogy with Tarver. Jones prevailed by majority decision and talked about fighting Tyson or retirement yet was back at the 175-pound limit six months later, facing his previous foe again instead. 

With hands held low, Jones was caught in the second round of the rematch with a left hook as he attempted to land one of his own. Swaying like a sailboat in a storm, he was unable to continue, his aura of invincibility emphatically ended. Tarver won the third meeting – on points -  as well.

Danny Green - Acer Arena, Sydney (December 2, 2009)

Ahead of a long-awaited rematch with rival Bernard Hopkins, Jones went up against Green in a cruiserweight contest in Sydney.

The bout in Australia was short but not sweet for the visiting fighter, as Jones was dropped by a right hand just 75 seconds into the action. While able to beat the count, a swarming Green forced a first-round stoppage.  

Jones later launched a complaint citing use of illegal hand wraps by his rival, calling for the result be changed to a disqualification. The defeat still remains on his record but he did not miss out on the Hopkins fight, which still went ahead in 2010.

Enzo Maccarinelli - VTB Arena, Moscow (December 12, 2015)

Successive losses to Hopkins and then Denis Lebedev did not wilt Jones' desire to carry on campaigning in the ring. Europe became a popular destination as he put together an eight-fight winning run between 2011 and 2015.  

However, the streak came to an emphatic end when put in against Maccarinelli in a cruiserweight bout. Now 46 years of age, Jones – who had been granted Russian citizenship following a meeting with Vladimir Putin - was dropped twice and stopped in the fourth round.   

It appeared to be the end of the line, yet he has fought four times since, all of them victories. The most notable name among the quartet of his more-recent foes is Bobby Gunn, who built his reputation as a professional bare-knuckle boxer. 

Related items

  • NFL Talking Point: Can Urban Meyer succeed with the Jaguars? NFL Talking Point: Can Urban Meyer succeed with the Jaguars?

    Urban Meyer's coaching career looked to be over when he bid farewell to Ohio State following victory on arguably college football's grandest stage, the Rose Bowl, on New Year's Day in 2019.

    It appeared to be the perfect send-off for one of the most successful and influential coaches in the college game.

    Yet despite health concerns that forced his apparent retirement, Meyer clearly still had a thirst for a new challenge during his brief stint as a TV analyst.

    That has been quenched with a step up to the professional ranks nobody had seen coming, Meyer on Wednesday appointed the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

    It is a splash move from the Jaguars that comes with a clear risk, with Meyer never having coached in the NFL during his storied career.

    His first job at the highest level will likely see him get the chance to coach Trevor Lawrence, the Clemson quarterback considered a lock for the number one overall pick, who is widely regarded as the best prospect at the sport's most important position since Andrew Luck.

    But will Meyer be able to get the best out of Lawrence and overcome his lack of NFL experience to succeed in turning the Jaguars around? There's a lot of evidence to suggest his achievements in college should translate to the pros.

    A natural winner

    Though all Meyer's experience has come in college, the first obvious sign for Jaguars fans is his track record of success.

    In 17 seasons in the college ranks, Meyer never had a losing season.

    His career record of 187-32 puts him third all-time in winning percentage (.854), with only Knute Rockne (.881) and Frank Leahy (.864) ahead of him.

    Meyer's two-season stint at Utah ended with the Utes ranked as a top-five team, while he won two National Championships at Florida.

    A third national title came during his time with Ohio State, the Buckeyes consistently excelling under Meyer on the back of some excellent recruiting.

    Constructing success

    The Jaguars have a nice collection of talent at receiver and some intriguing young pieces on defense but, after a 1-15 season, the Jacksonville job is one that will largely require building from the ground up.

    Thankfully in Meyer, they have hired a renowned program builder, whose talent for having his colleges near the top of the high school recruiting rankings was crucial to his consistency at that level.

    Indeed, only once in his tenure at Ohio State did the Buckeyes fail to have a recruiting class in the top five in the country.

    The challenge of luring free agents and drafting players is a very different one and the Jaguars still need to hire a general manager who will likely oversee most of those duties.

    But Meyer will unquestionably have some influence on those proceedings and, having regularly lured the best high school athletes to Columbus, there is reason to believe those skills will translate and he will prosper at evaluating draft prospects and convincing free agents to join the Jags.

    Tailor-made for Lawrence?

    Before last season's College Football Playoff, Meyer labelled Lawrence the best college quarterback ever.

    The expectation is he will now get to work with Lawrence, but will he get the best out of the Clemson phenom?

    Judging Meyer by what he did in the college ranks, the indication is he will.

    Meyer had a top-five offense at least once in each of his stops at Bowling Green State, Utah, Florida and Ohio State.

    At Utah, his option-based attack had the Utes ranked third in total offense in 2004, and helped Alex Smith blossom into a prospect picked first overall in the 2005 draft.

    His two National Championships at Florida saw him turn Chris Leak, who never played an NFL snap, into MVP of the 2007 title game before he then built the offense around the athletic abilities of Tim Tebow, whose deficiencies as a signal-caller were exposed at the highest level.

    Meyer's lone National Championship triumph at Ohio State came with Cardale Jones replacing an injured J.T. Barrett at quarterback for the final three games. Both Barrett and Jones failed to make the grade in the NFL.

    The Buckeyes were eighth in total offense in 2018, Meyer's final year, with Dwayne Haskins at quarterback. Haskins was picked in the first round but was cut by the Washington Football Team this season.

    In other words, Meyer has consistently gotten excellent production out of quarterbacks nowhere close to Lawrence's level.

    It will be a very different challenge in the NFL, where the speed of the game and the standard of defense is significantly higher and there is much greater parity than in the college ranks.

    Yet Meyer's acumen as a talent developer is illustrated by the fact Ohio State had multiple players taken as first-round picks in all but one draft from 2014 to 2019. They had three in 2020 after successor Ryan Day's first season as coach.

    Meyer has proven himself an outstanding coach who can attract players to his teams, get the best out of his players and tailor systems around the strengths of his quarterbacks.

    There are few areas that are not considered strengths for Lawrence. There may be growing pains for both Meyer and Lawrence, however, the combination of their respective talents should win out as they adapt to the increased level of competition. Meyer is a risk, but he has what it takes to turn the Jags into a force in the AFC.

  • Kovalev v Melikuziev off after former champ tests positive for testosterone Kovalev v Melikuziev off after former champ tests positive for testosterone

    Sergey Kovalev's bout against Bektemir Melikuziev has been cancelled after the former three-time light-heavyweight world champion failed a drugs test.

    Kovalev returned a positive for synthetic testosterone via a test carried out by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA).

    The scheduled fight card at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indo, California has been pulled by Golden Boy Promotions as a result.

    A statement released by Golden Boy read: "The Kovalev vs Melikuziev boxing event scheduled for January 30 has been cancelled following a positive test for a banned substance (synthetic testosterone) on behalf of Sergey Kovalev through the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA).

    "Upon learning of Kovalev's adverse finding, the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) determined that they must cancel the event."

    Kovalev has not fought since losing his WBO light-heavyweight title in an 11th-round knockout defeat to Canelo Alvarez in November 2019, a setback that dropped the 37-year-old's professional record to 34 victories (29 knockouts), four defeats and a solitary draw.

    Counting from his first career loss, when Andre Ward edged a close points verdict against Kovalev in 2016, the Russian has won four and lost four of his past eight fights, with the three subsequent losses all coming by stoppage.

    He was scheduled to box former world title challenger Sullivan Barrera on April 25 last year but the coronavirus pandemic put paid to that, as it did the original plans for the meeting against Uzbekistan's 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Melikuziev (6-0, 5 KOs) to take place in Moscow.

  • Whyte-Povetkin rematch confirmed for March 6 Whyte-Povetkin rematch confirmed for March 6

    The heavyweight rematch between Alexander Povetkin and Dillian Whyte has been officially confirmed for March 6.

    Povetkin knocked out Whyte in the fifth round of their WBC interim title bout last August and the pair were originally set to meet again in late November at Wembley Arena.

    However, the fight was postponed after the Russian was admitted to hospital with COVID-19.

    Promoters Matchroom Boxing has announced a new date has now been set, with the rematch now scheduled for around seven weeks' time.

    The card will take place behind closed doors at a venue that has yet to be confirmed.

    After being laid low by coronavirus last year, Povetkin recently stepped up his training regime as he looks to retain the WBC interim heavyweight title with another victory over Whyte.

    World of Boxing Promotions Company, who represent the 41-year-old, posted on Twitter on Friday: "Alexander has fully recovered and started his training camp on January 12. 

    "He is progressing well in the first stage of his preparation. We hope the second fight will live up to everyone's expectations and that Povetkin will deliver another spectacular finish."

    The winner of the rematch will be in line to face either Tyson Fury or Anthony Joshua later in 2021 for the heavyweight world title.

    Meanwhile, it was also confirmed on Friday that Josh Warrington, who has not been in action since October 2019, will defend his IBF featherweight belt against Mauricio Lara on February 13.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.