Heavyweight legends George Foreman and Larry Holmes both watched Saturday night’s Mike Tyson-Roy Jones exhibition with interest, as did Tyson’s former trainer Teddy Atlas. But while “Big George” came away impressed, “The Easton Assassin” was far cooler.
Atlas was even cooler still. Speaking with USA Today, former two-time heavyweight king Foreman said that if Tyson is matched with “the right champion, he can knock him out.”
Holmes, who ruled for seven years, disagrees, telling the publication that Saturday’s bout was really nothing more than “a wrestling match,” adding how Tyson “couldn’t get close [on Jones].” While Atlas says bad things will happen if Tyson fights an elite heavyweight in the future.
Foreman, a great guy and an even greater personality, has a habit of saying nice and encouraging things about people. As for Holmes, he’s not quite so upbeat. While Atlas gives it to us straight. Together these three see two different futures for Tyson.
“I just couldn’t believe what I saw. And that was just an exhibition. Just think if [Tyson] had some activity the last two years,” Foreman said. “He’d be in line to be the champion of the world again at 54, 55. What impressed me most, he missed a lot of shots. He found himself out of position.
He recaptured it and got back on track. That impressed me more than anything he did. Keeping his mind in the game. If he gets in shape like he’s in now, and then gets his timing back, and all the other things fall into place, he can have an opportunity to fight for the title.”
But will “all the other things fall into place?” Tyson looked good against Jones, but against a real, live fighter with normal sized gloves – who knows what would happen. Holmes wasn’t impressed at all by Tyson’s eight round draw. While Teddy Atlas thinks it would be disastrous if Tyson stepped into the ring with a primed and peaking heavyweight.
“It would be a joke,” Atlas said with regards to Tyson getting in there with an elite heavyweight. “It would be a one-round debacle. I saw a guy that was old, who’d just get destroyed by hard jabs and straight punches before he ever got close.”
It seems plenty of people saw a different fight on Saturday. Some feel Tyson has very much still got it, while others think the exhibition showed that Tyson is in great physical shape but nothing more.
Who do you agree with – Foreman, or Holmes, or Atlas?
Tyson almost certainly will box again, but Foreman is in the minority when it comes to experts willing to give the one-time “Baddest Man On The Planet” anything like a shot at winning back a major title. Or of even challenging for one.