It’s awesome that fans got to see Mike Tyson return to the ring in a fun exhibition fight, but I think the only way to do the event justice is with a roast.
This weekend, the social media platform Triller made its debut as a boxing promoter. The four fight lineup contained undeniable boxing talent, including Nate Robinson, a first-round pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, and Tyson, known for his role in “The Hangover” movies. In the days leading up to the fights, owners of Triller made the claim that this event was trending to break the record for most pay per view buys for a boxing event. If this happens, I can understand why, as “The Hangover” series is loved by all. If the record is not broken, fans probably figured that rewatching the series for the umpteenth time was more appealing than the events $50 price-tag.
In the co-main event, YouTuber and part-time boxer Jake Paul took on Robinson, a former NBA point guard and three-time slam dunk champion. This was Robinson’s first time inside the ring and it wasn’t pretty. As per usual, Paul was matched up with a smaller opponent, weighing in eight pounds heavier than Robinson. Paul knocked down Robinson in the second round, and I would hope everyone but the referee thought Robinson did not answer the standing eight count. The referee allowed the clearly wobbled fighter to continue and seconds later Robinson was flattened by Paul to end the fight.
In between every fight, Triller had arranged for music performances by the following popular hip-hop artists: Lil Wayne, French Montana, Wiz Khalifa, YG and Ne-Yo. These performances, though technically announced before the event, came as a bit of a surprise to many, but props to Triller admitting that the exhibition headliner might not be worth the pay per view price on its own. Obviously these were part of the night’s program to build Triller’s brand, but all that you really need to know is that Wiz Khalifa performed the middle school classic “Black and Yellow.”
In the main event, former champions Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. faced off in an eight round exhibition fight. In the lead up to the fight, there was possibly more buzz about the rule set than the fight itself. First, Tyson said he would be going for a knockout and oddsmakers listed a knockout as a betting option, even though generally it is illegal to go for a knockout during an exhibition and the referee is supposed to stop the match if either opponent is going for one. The athletic commission overseeing the fight clarified that the fight would be similar to hard sparring, but Tyson never publicly revised his statement. Second, Triller put out a statement that a winner would be announced, which also generally is not the case for exhibitions. The commission clarified that no official scoring would occur, and Triller cleared up the confusion by saying it would have licensed boxing judges rendering a decision in unofficial capacities.
Though the combined age of the two fighters was 106, their performances exceeded expectations. Both produced glimpses of their former abilities and they were able to entertain for the full 16 minutes. When the final bell rang, Tyson had out-landed Jones Jr. by around 30 punches and seemed to be the clear winner. However, to cap off the night the unofficial officials declared the fight a draw, unofficially.
All-in-all, this event never pretended to be anything that it wasn’t, and if you watched for the novelty of it, you were probably satisfied. Oh, and Snoop Dogg was the commentator.