Though the question posed in the title of this article takes a past tense approach – as in who WAS the greater fighter, we all know that Mike Tyson and Roy Jones are still fighting. Or they are both about to. Sort of. In exhibition form (an exhibition bout that may or may not morph into a real fight at any given point once one or both fighters takes a shot on the chin).
*** Watch Tyson vs Jones LIVE on FITE TV this Saturday ***
It’s big; with this Saturday’s heavily hyped and much-maligned Tyson-Jones bout gaining a ton of attention and expectation. Both men are absolute, undeniable, all-time boxing legends. During the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s, these two fighting machines lit up the planet; the boxing population and the non-boxing fans forced to take notice. During their time, Tyson and Jones gave us great fights, they each proved their own greatness, and both warriors became heroes to millions.
Yet as we know, both men are not done yet. Who knows what may follow Saturday night’s fight/exhibition/event. Tyson has already spoken of the possibility of boxing again.
But assuming neither legend carries on and gets in there with a real, live and in his prime current and active fighter, let’s ask the question now – who is the greater fighter: Tyson or Jones?
Asking such a question is akin to asking, who was greater: Michael Jackson or Prince? Both were at the top of their game around the same time; Price peaking a short time after Jackson did. And the two pop stars had at least something of a rivalry. If Tyson was Bad, or a Thriller, then Jones was Crazy as well as Delirious. This Saturday, the two living legends will collide on Triller.
Tyson at his pomp scared more fighters (and fans) than anyone this side of Sonny Liston. Jones at his peak dazzled more opponents (and fans) than anyone this side of Muhammad Ali or Sugar Ray Robinson. Tyson was for some time seen as an invincible fighter, so too was Jones, only for a longer spell.
Tyson met his kryptonite in the form of James Douglas. Jones met his in the form of Antonio Tarver. It was a momentous shock when Tyson lost for the first time. The stunning loss Jones suffered in losing for the first time (really and truly, begging the pardon of Montell Griffin and what he managed to do in 1997) registered just a few hits lower on the Richter scale.
Tyson’s greatest wins came in fights with: Michael Spinks, Larry Holmes, Trevor Berbick, Pinklon Thomas, Razor Ruddock and Andrew Golota.
Jones’ greatest wins came in fights with: James Toney, Bernard Hopkins, John Ruiz, Mike McCallum, Virgil Hill, Montell Griffin (fight two) and Vinnie Pazienza.
Tyson, 50-6(44), was the king of destruction for around three years before his limitations were exposed.
Jones, 66-9(47) was the pound-for-pound king for ten long years until his reflexes betrayed him.
There is no question, Jones was/is the greater overall fighter of the two. But of course, this means zero when it comes to what will happen on Saturday night in Los Angeles.