Mike Tyson v Roy Jones Jr: How much will the heavyweight legends earn from massive exhibition bout?


There are now just days to go until Mike Tyson returns to the ring.

The 54-year old legend faces Roy Jones Junior in Los Angeles on Saturday night in a contest that has piqued the curiosity of sports fans around the world.

The California State Athletic Commission, who are sanctioning the fight, have insisted that it will take place under the rules of a normal exhibition bout. This means that there will be no knockdowns allowed, nor will there be judges at ringside to determine a winner.

These concessions have been put in place due to the age of both participants and the time they have spent out of the ring. “Iron Mike” has not fought professionally since 2005, whilst Jones, aged 51, last competed nearly three years ago.

Despite the stance of regulators, though, both Tyson and Jones maintain that they are committed to putting on a show when they square off over eight two-minute rounds at the Staples Center. 

Although the rules might be of an exhibition standard, it seems there will be nothing standard about the paydays that both men are to receive for their efforts the weekend.

A tweet early Wednesday morning from veteran combat sports journalist Kevin Iole suggests that Tyson is in line to make an eight-figure sum, with Jones also pocketing a respectable fee.

“Hearing that Tyson will make $10 million and Roy Jones +/- $3 million for their exhibition Saturday”, reported Iole.

That $10 million figure is a far cry from the purses of around $30 million that Tyson reportedly earned for bouts with the likes of Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield as a professional.

However, it is still an eye-watering sum for a fighter of Tyson’s age – especially during a global pandemic – and is a testament to his unique box office appeal. 

Make no mistake, we will not be seeing prime versions of either Tyson or Jones this weekend, nor will the bout feel identical to a traditional fight.

With that said, both men have clearly put in months of work to prepare for the contest and neither is simply turning up for the financial compensation involved.

No matter how the bout turns out on Saturday, it seems sure to be a great spectacle.

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