Souring on the sweet science

Posted on Dec 04 2020

At least Butterbean in his heart of hearts believed he wasn’t just a sideshow.

Not that I’m a party-pooper but I really didn’t feel for the recent exhibition boxing match pitting former undisputed heavyweight world champion Mike Tyson against former four-division world champion Roy Jones Jr.

The undercard between Youtuber Jake Paul and three-timer NBA Slam Dunk champion Nate Robinson was also underwhelming at best and has truly soured me on the sweet science of boxing.

First, the Tyson-Jones disaster that ended in a draw, but since it’s an exhibition let’s just call it a tie. Two thumbs up for Tyson for coming into the fight in terrific shape, which can’t be said for Jones who looked like he’s been retired more than the actual three years.

Despite not stepping into the ring since 2005, Tyson showed semblance of the most fearsome boxer that ever laced them up. Minus his patented uppercut, which he promised not to throw since it’s an exhibition, Tyson clearly had Jones’ number in the scheduled eight-round affair.

Jones did display his patented okie-doke from time to time against Tyson, but visibly was a tired a fighter as the rounds went on. Tyson should’ve won that fight with plenty to spare, but guess what, the boxer who in the past swore to “eat his children” and even bit part of rival Evander Hollyfield’s ear has truly mellowed and said he’s “alright” with the decision.

On Paul-Robinson fight, props for the former for really training for the boxing match, as he totally embarrassed the former NBA player who was knocked out unconscious in the second round of the “co-main event” scheduled for six rounds.

Robinson obviously didn’t take the fight seriously and thought he could just waltz into the ring and take out the famous Youtuber without breaking into sweat. Before he chose basketball, the 5’9” Robinson was a cornerback for the University of Washington and could’ve been drafted in the NFL if he continued to pursue the sport.

Alas, boxing is a totally different animal and it’s not called the sweet science for nothing. Simply put, you cannot just out-athlete anyone in boxing as you need some smarts too, as Jake Paul so clearly showed against Robinson in a crowd-less night last Nov. 28 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The Tyson-Jones and Paul-Robinson boxing matches, albeit deemed exhibitions, typify the sad and sorry state of the sport of boxing. Unlike during its heyday when Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Joe Frazier, Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, and Tommy Hearns were household names, the average sports fan today will struggle to name the current world boxing champions.

Athletes would rather turn pro in basketball, baseball, football, or even MMA rather than have your head bashed in boxing (Although you could argue a different kind of head bashing happens in football). That’s the reason most boxing champions today hail from the poorer parts of the world, as the sport is viewed as their ticket to fame and fortune. But let’s face it not everyone can be my kababayan (countryman) Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao.

When exhibition boxing matches between two over 50-year-old has-beens and a Youtuber and a fading basketball star gets more attention than officially sanctioned boxing events, then your sport is really in trouble.

So, this is what Rome was like at the twilight of the empire when gladiatorial combat pitting man vs. man, lion vs. elephant, and even man vs beast were the norm.

To prove my earlier point, Alexander Povetkin, Mahmoud Charr, and Trevor Bryan currently hold world heavyweight championship belts in boxing.

Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at
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