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

Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr are two legendary names in boxing, but they have not always had it their own way in the ring as we fid out here...

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


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