September 18, 2020

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Roy Jones Jr. threatens to withdraw from Mike Tyson exhibition fight over delay, demands compensation

Watch Now: The Jim Rome Show: Chris Mannix talks Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr. (2:02)

The highly anticipated boxing exhibition between Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. may already be in jeopardy. Recently delayed from Sept. 12 at the Dignity Health Sports Park in California to Saturday, Nov. 28, the move has upset the former light unified light heavyweight and WBA heavyweight champion Jones. 

In an interview with The Daily Mail, Jones (66-9, 47 KOs) expressed his frustrations over the move that bumps the exhibition fight back over two months. With the promoters biding time to see whether fans could be allowed to attend the match amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Jones cited his desire to obtain better compensation to take part in the event. 

“Why would I change the date and mess up the rest of my year when I agreed to Sept. 12?” Jones said. “They said they wanted to get a crowd, if you want to get a crowd, that’s a different type of money. If you want a big event, that’s a different type of money. You think I’m going to say, ‘OK, let’s look at my money, but I’m not getting no better percent.’ How dumb is that to me? So let’s see what happens.”

Jones also elaborated on the fact that the move to face Tyson (50-6, 44 KOs) over Thanksgiving weekend has disrupted his plans to accrue income elsewhere — another obvious reason for wanting to head back to the negotiating table. 

“I’ve had to cancel other stuff to be out here, it’s upset my calendar, I’ve got to change things,” Jones continued. “That’s why we have to table it and renegotiate now. That’s the biggest issue, I’m not a full time boxer anymore so I do other things to make an income. If I can’t do other things then I should be compensated for that, because it changes the schematics. It’s not acceptable.”

In an interview with MMA Fighting, Jimmy Burchfield Jr. — CEO of Classic Entertainment & Sports, who is promoting the event — explained the decision to move the event to Nov. 28, citing the potential for spectators as well as the marquee spotlight Thanksgiving weekend provides. 

“We sat around and looked at what was going on, the Mike Tyson, Roy Jones legends fight was resonating, plus putting together these other fights that were gaining traction and we realized that people were demanding tickets, wondering how to view this live,” Burchfield said. “We looked at it and said, ‘Hey, maybe there’s a possibility of pushing this back where we can have some spectators. So that was one factor to consider.

“Another factor to consider is the Saturday after Thanksgiving is a huge night and we thought the potential of that particular night would be huge from a marketing standpoint — giving us more time to market the event. There were real business issues involved in it which facilitated it being pushed back.”

Burchfield’s explanation makes sense, in theory, but now he and his promotional team must deal with the potential of Jones pulling out of the exhibition as part of the fallout from that decision. 

In addition to the two legends Tyson and Jones clashing, the event is also expected to feature YouTube personality Jake Paul taking on former NBA Slam Dunk champion Nate Robinson as well as former super middleweight champion Badou Jack in action. It will be available for purchase on traditional pay-per-view as well as upstart social media platform Triller — which helped bring the event together — for the reported price of $49.99.