Boxing exhibitions, it appears, are now huge business. Possibly even bigger than actual, sanctioned boxing.
The exhibition fight earlier this month between Floyd Mayweather, Jr., and YouTuber Logan Paul pulled in millions, while retired boxers Mike Tyson and Roy Jones, Jr., had an exhibition fight of their own last year.
Could participants in those fights fight each other? There’s interest from one side, at least.
Paul said on his podcast this week that he wants to fight Tyson, and that he thinks he can beat him.
“Someone mentioned Mike Tyson, like how funny is it? One great at a time. Or is it like you can only fight one? My lawyer mentioned it and he was like, ‘No, Tyson will rip your head off, you don’t stand a chance’,” Paul said his “Impaulsive” podcast this week, as reported by Men’s Health.
“I’m like ‘bro, I literally just went through all of this, you can’t tell me I can’t beat Mike Tyson. Bro, he’s old, old.”
Paul and Tyson even had a FaceTime conversation following the Paul-Mayweather fight, in a video posted to the Mayweather Channel, a YouTube account associated with Mayweather’s operation. Mayweather’s company promoted the fight between Mayweather and Paul, in addition to Mayweather’s participation as an actual fighter.
In a potential fight Paul, while neither a former heavyweight champion nor even really a professional boxer, does have the advantage of youth. Paul is 26 years old, while Tyson is 54. Paul wasn’t born yet during Tyson’s run as heavyweight champion in the ‘80s, and was just one year old during the infamous fight in 1997 when Tyson bit Evander Holyfield’s ear.
In terms of weight, Paul weighed in at 189.5 pounds prior to the fight with Mayweather, giving him a 34.5-pound weight advantage over Mayweather, who fought in several weight classes throughout his career but maxed out as a light-middleweight. Tyson, who was always a heavyweight, weighed in at 220 pounds when he fought Jones last year.
Tyson said in April that he’s planning another fight, against old rival Lennox Lewis, in September, although that fight has not been officially announced. Tyson and Lewis previously fought one other time, in 2002, at a time when Tyson was widely believed to be past his prime.
As of last week, per the Daily Mail, Tyson is confirmed to return to the ring in September, although his opponent is to be determined. Both Lewis and Holyfield are listed as potential opponents for Iron Mike, in a fight that would also be an exhibition.
“I don’t know who because his company Legends Only League is working on it and negotiating a TV deal so they can announce a schedule, but we’re training. We’ll be fighting in September,” Tyson’s coach told the newspaper.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.