Mike Tyson gears up for Roy Jones Jr bout, says 'kid' is under control

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Nov 25, 2020, 09.05 PM(IST)

Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson Photograph:( AFP )

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Boxing legend Mike Tyson is set to return to the ring for an exhibition bout against Roy Jones Jr on Saturday with the 54-year-old saying that he has learned to protect that "kid always in me". 

Boxing legend Mike Tyson is set to return to the ring for an exhibition bout against Roy Jones Jr on Saturday with the 54-year-old saying that he has learned to protect that "kid always in me". 

The former world heavyweight champion is scheduled to fight for the first time in 15 years when he takes on four-division world champion Roy Jones Jr at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

“Iron Mike”, while speaking to boxing promoter Eddie Hearn on his BBC podcast "No Passion, No Point", said he did not want to think about where he would be without boxing. The American, who was jailed in 1992 for rape, also paid a heartfelt tribute to his late trainer for giving him morale guidance. 

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"That kid is always in me," he said. "Now I know how to treat him, how to protect him. I wasn't protecting him when I was going to jail and all this crazy stuff.

"The best thing that can happen to any young man or woman is to have a diligent role model that cares about them.

"The feelings have to be mutual. Your objective has to be to make them happy -- to be the man they need you to be.

"Just think where I would be without boxing. I don't even want to think about where I would be without this beautiful sport."

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Tyson dominated the heavyweight division from 1986 to 1990 but conceded that becoming youngest-ever world champion, at 20, came too early for him. He battled drugs and lost the fortune he made in the ring apart from his prison term. 

"The best time of my life was probably right before I won the title," said Tyson. "When I won the title it got tricky. It wasn't the right time for me.

"I had too many emotional vampires around me."

However, both Tyson and Jones Jr have rejected criticism with many calling the bout, which will be staged over eight two-minute rounds, as “circus act”.

Tyson said he would have no resemblance to the boxer who was beaten by Kevin McBride in his last fight in 2005.

Jones’ last fight came in 2018 with a unanimous decision against Scott Sigmon. 

Tyson predicted a full-blooded contest.

"I think Roy can handle getting slapped around a little bit," he said. "It's going to be really hot in that kitchen."

Tyson has dabbled in films since he retired from the ring and says he is in a good place now.

"I'm living responsibly, being present," he said. "That's what it's about for me now."

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