The World Boxing Association (WBA) 99th Annual Convention, held so successfully online early last month (July 1-4), and the shocking announcement of former heavyweight champion Mike “Iron Man” Tyson’s return to the ring, have both achieved the miracle of breaking the near-absolute mutism of media due to the Covid-19 pandemic that has affected all areas of the business almost since the beginning of this 2020.
During last month’s first four days, the dean of the boxing organizations debated a variety of issues in the run-up to next year’s 100th meeting in Russia on the occasion of its first century as the oldest boxing organization on the planet, presided since 2015 by Venezuelan Gilberto Jesús Mendoza.
Undoubtedly, the event that caused the most commotion in the press and, we repeat, put boxing back in the printed and audiovisual sports pages, has been the return to the ring of a legendary figure in boxing, the introverted, athletic and controversial Mike Tyson, one of the top and the youngest champions in the history of the division, who climbed to the top at the age of 20 years and about 5 months.
Tyson, who early this year announced his return to the ring -next to 58-year-old Evander Holyfield, his arch-rival in their golden days- confirmed, on July 24, that he will put his gloves on on September 13th in an eight round exhibition fight in Carson City, California, with no head gear and 12-ounce gloves to fight Roy Jones Jr., a four-time world champion in the Middleweight, Cruiserweight, Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight divisions, with a record of 66-9, 47 KOs, 5 against. Jones, is another living legend and the only Middleweight in over a century to have reigned in the Heavyweight division, and one of the Light Heavyweights, together with Archie Moore and Bob Foster, who have made history in the category.
Tyson (50-6-0, 44 KO) has lost over 30 kilos (about 55 pounds) and will go up to over 100 kilos. He is 54 years old, while Jones is 51. “Iron Man” retired after losing by TKO to Kevin McBride on 11/6/2005, while Holyfield (44-10-2, 29 KOs, 2 against) retired in May 2011 after knocking out Danish Brian Nilsen in 10 in Copenhagen, expects to fight Tyson him in December.
The California boxing authorities will submit them to a severe medical examination before granting permission, a measure that has generated greater peace of mind, even among the skeptics, who reject the idea as risky.
Regarding the return of old glories, it is worth mentioning the words of Oscar de la Hoya, 47 years old and 6 times World Champion, and Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr., 43, both of whom assured their early return to the ropes. De La Hoya said that in a few months he will be ready to put the gloves back on. For his part, Floyd, five times Champion in as many divisions, who stopped fighting with 50 wins in an equal number of fights, is preparing to face, possibly on December 31st in Tokyo, the local Takashi Uchiyama.
De La Hoya last fought on 12/5/2008, when he was knocked out in 8 by Manny Pacquiao; Mayweather hasn’t formally acted since September 2015 when he beat Andre Berto, not counting the 12/31/2018 exhibition fight when he dispatched Tensih Masuyama, a kickboxing activist, in Tokyo in 2 minutes and 18 seconds, adding $9 million to his bank account.
I will close this note with an old popular saying: The dawn will come and we shall see. But, does anyone really doubt that the matter is at least striking and interesting, both for boxing and for sports in general?