Mike Tyson throws a punch in the seventh round against Roy Jones Jr. during their boxing match. AFP/Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Triller
LOS ANGELES - Mike Tyson's return to boxing at age 54 ended in a draw with 51-year-old Roy Jones Jr. in an eight-round exhibition battle of former heavyweight champions.
Fifteen years after retiring with a 2005 loss to journeyman Kevin McBride, Tyson made his comeback at Staples Center in Los Angeles without spectators in a pay-per-view matchup that mixed curiosity and nostalgia.
California State Athletic Commission officials required two-minute rounds instead of the usual three-minute rounds, mandated larger than normal 12-ounce gloves, said neither fighter could seek a knockout and declared there could be no official winner in safety moves for the over-50 fighters.
"Sometimes that two minutes felt like three minutes," Tyson said. "I'm glad I got this under my belt and I'm looking forward to doing it again."
An "unofficial" panel of former World Boxing Council champions at ringside scored the bout a draw, an outcome that Tyson applauded despite appearing to dominate.
"I'm good with that," Tyson said, admitting he thought he had won the fight. "Yeah, but I'm good with a draw. The crowd was happy with that."
Jones, who looked tired and grabbed Tyson much of the fight, was unhappy at a draw.
"I ain't never happy with a draw. I don't do draw," Jones said, admitting that Tyson hurt him throughout the bout, particularly with body blows.
"If he hits you with his head, punches, body shots, it don't matter, everything hurts. Body shots definitely took a toll. Body shots are what makes you exhausted."
Tyson ruled the heavyweight division in overwhelming fashion in the late 1980s but struggled through the 1990s, losing his title, being convicted of rape and serving a ban after biting a chunk out of Evander Holyfield's ear.
He faded from the scene after a 2002 world title loss to Lennox Lewis and has returned now to help launch his Legends Only League for over-age star athletes.