No, your eyes weren’t deceiving you when Mike Tyson walked to the ring to fight Roy Jones Jr. in 2020.
The two boxing legends took center stage on November 28, 2020, competing in an exhibition bout that intrigued fighting fans around the world.
Streamed live through Triller, the two wound up as the main event on a card that had a full-on undercard, even featuring a fight between YouTuber Jake Paul and former NBA star Nate Robinson.
While the event may not have garnered the same attention that a Mike Tyson fight normally would have during the prime of his real boxing career, it did pique many combat sports fans’ interests.
In fact, it even led to some debates about what could be next for Tyson and the world of exhibition boxing.
Tyson himself has a few possibilities to consider if the 54-year-old wants to step back into the ring, as do some other superstars if they want to capitalize on the opportunity.
So, to potentially steer them all in the right direction, here are four exhibition fights to make after the bout between Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr.
- Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield
There’s a lot of history between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield, apparent by the fact that the former literally bit off a piece of the latter’s ear during a memorable fight in 1997.
While the two have made peace and Holyfield has evidently come to forgive Tyson for his actions, it appears as if there may be room for one more battle between two of boxing’s biggest superstars.
In a press release a few days after Tyson’s draw with Roy Jones Jr., Holyfield took credit for the idea of having an exhibition fight in the first place, and threw in an extra dig along the way after watching Tyson’s efforts.
“Now I can see why he wanted a tune-up fight before thinking about fighting me,” Holyfield said.
The former heavyweight champion then expressed interest in stepping into the ring as Tyson’s next opponent, discussing the hype that such an event would generate.
“Roy Jones was a good local opponent for Mike,” Holyfield wrote. “But a fight with me would be a global event and the only fight that anyone wants to see is a fight between us. There is absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t make it happen.”
If Tyson truly wants to keep competing, and Holyfield is actually interested, then this is the fight to make.
The ear bite in 1997 is a phenomenon on its own at this point, and has become an event that even younger sports fans are aware of. Capitalizing on that and turning it all into a main event fight in 2021 seems like a no-brainer for both sides.
- Mike Tyson vs. Lennox Lewis
Another former foe of Mike Tyson seems willing to take part in an exhibition bout in the near future, and it’s another legend that has lots of history with the former heavyweight champion.
Lennox Lewis, who famously knocked Tyson out in 2002 before Tyson’s last fight with Vitali Klitschko a year later, recently expressed his interest in getting back into the ring after a historic career of his own.
“I looked at the history of why boxers come back and most boxers come back because they have nothing else to do,” Lewis told BT Sport. “People keep coming up to them and saying to them, ‘Hey, come on, when’s your next fight? Who are you going to fight?’ But it doesn’t do better for them, it makes them look bad. So I always elected to stay away from that. But, you know, if it’s right, I may come back.”
While he brought up the idea of fighting 53-year-old Riddick Bowe, the 55-year-old Lewis may have a dance with Tyson waiting in the wings if the two are in need of an opponent.
If the fight between Tyson and Holyfield falls through, a rematch between Tyson and Lewis almost 19 years after their initial bout would surely be a welcomed sight for boxing fans around the world.
- Conor McGregor vs. Manny Pacquiao
Getting away from Mike Tyson’s potential opponents, it seems like a good time to finally book the long-rumored bout between UFC star Conor McGregor and boxing legend Manny Pacquiao.
Ever since McGregor crossed over to the boxing ring to take on the undefeated Floyd Mayweather in 2017, the former UFC champion has continuously brought up the idea of returning to boxing while maneuvering through his MMA career.
The 41-year-old Pacquiao has been the most commonly-referenced opponent whenever McGregor discusses a return to the ring, which makes sense when considering the fact that the two share the same manager.
Depending on how McGregor’s long-awaited bout in the Octagon against Dustin Poirier plays out in January of 2021, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Irishman and the Filipino superstar tangle at some point in the new year.
- Jake Paul vs. Dillon Danis
YouTuber Jake Paul has become one of the most controversial entertainers in the United States in recent years, but he’s been able to back up his bark whenever he steps into a boxing ring for exhibition bouts.
The Ohio native has appeared in just two fights in his limited combat sports career, but has two wins to show for it, including a nasty knockout of former NBA star Nate Robinson on the undercard for the Mike Tyson-Roy Jones Jr. event.
After the fight, Paul expressed a desire to take on Conor McGregor and/or the Irishman’s teammate Dillon Danis, saying that he would “knock them both out.”
While the McGregor fight would certainly create more buzz, putting a fight between Paul and Danis on the undercard for a main event between McGregor and Pacquiao seems like a solid alternative.
If Paul takes out Danis like he says he can, calling out McGregor after the fact would make even more sense, and lead to an even bigger payday in the future.