Organizers of the Mike Tyson v. Roy Jones Jr. exhibition appear to be at loggerheads with California's athletic commission over the event's rules

Organizers of the Mike Tyson v. Roy Jones Jr. exhibition appear to be at loggerheads with California's athletic commission over the event's rules
Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr.Photos by Aaron Rapoport and Bill Tompkins / Getty Images
  • Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr., two of the all-time greats in boxing, are two days away from their wildly-anticipated exhibition at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
  • Organizers Triller appear to be at loggerheads behind-the-scenes with the California State Athletic Commission, which as a duty of care for athletes competing in their jurisdiction.
  • The CSAC has said knockouts are forbidden. But according to a statement sent to Insider, this is false.
  • "There could be a knockout and there will be one winner," Triller co-owner Ryan Kavanaugh said.
  • This conflict over the rules puts referee Ray Corona in a tough position, according to CBS analyst Brian Campbell.

Organizers for Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr.'s exhibition appear to be locked in a behind-the-scenes battle with boxing authorities over a ruleset for the show.

The two former heavyweight champions return to the ring for an event inside the behind-closed-doors Staples Center in Los Angeles on Saturday, November 28.

Both fighters have been vowing to fight for real, rather than for show, despite the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) executive Andy Foster's recent comments that it is not a legitimate fight and knockouts are forbidden.
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This is at odds with what Ryan Kavanaugh, the co-owner of the video platform Triller — which is helping to host and broadcast the event — said in a statement sent to Insider.

According to Triller, knockouts are allowed, the fight will be scored, and a winner will be declared — albeit by remote, celebrity judges, as recognized by the WBC rather than the commission.

"There have been some false rumors swirling, so to be crystal clear — the WBC is scoring the fight. There could be a knockout and there will be one winner.
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"Anyone who says there is going to be no judging or no winner either does not understand the rules or has their own agenda. Unquestionably. 100 percent."

When the UFC President Dana White was told about the CSAC ruleset at a press conference Saturday, he laughed, and said good luck enforcing the no-knockout rule when you have Tyson in the ring. White said he'd like to bet they still go for knockouts, but was then told by a reporter that bets aren't allowed.
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That's another think Kavanaugh says is incorrect.

"DraftKings is the betting partner and is taking bets on the fight in New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Illinois.

"The only difference in this fight is the gloves are 12 ounces, there are eight rounds, and the rounds are two minutes rather than three. That is it."
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Tyson previously vowed to 'disable' Jones

Organizers of the Mike Tyson v. Roy Jones Jr. exhibition appear to be at loggerheads with California's athletic commission over the event's rules
Mike Tyson.Photo by ABC via Getty Images

Tyson told reporters at a virtual press conference Insider attended last month that he has been preparing to "disable" Jones.

This followed a Jones interview in which the Floridian fighter said he may have "made a mistake" agreeing to the Tyson exhibition as he is "the bigger [and] more explosive guy."

Regardless, he's been preparing to defend himself should Tyson pursue an early knockout Saturday.
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"We have nothing but the utmost respect for Andy [Foster] and everyone at CSAC," Kavanaugh said in another statement sent to Insider.

"For total clarity, we are not implying that CSAC is picking a winner or scoring. WBC is scoring and a winner will be determined using those scores as a basis."

That result, though, will not appear on any official document or record, he said.
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"We apologize for any confusion and look forward to a great night of fights Saturday night."

The commission has put the referee in a weird position, according to a boxing analyst

The CSAC, as the regulatory body overseeing the event, has a duty of care for the fighters headlining the weekend's card, and has said the referee Ray Corona will stop the bout if someone appears to be getting hurt. But this puts Corona in a weird position, Brian Campbell at CBS Sports said on the Showtime-produced YouTube channel Morning Kombat.
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"There's intrigue, nostalgia, but it could be a carnival crap-show," said Campbell.

"The CSAC is trying to push it out there with selective, prohibitive rules. There's potential here that as soon as this thing gets good — if it has the opportunity to get good — that they could ruin it.

"They're putting referee Ray Corona in a really tough spot to basically come out and say: 'This is sparring, no knockouts, this is entertainment only.'
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"I can envision a bad scenario … as soon as this thing gets fun, they're like, 'Okay, he's had enough [and call off the fight].'

"He had enough? We didn't have any! That's got to be your biggest fear as a fan or consumer."

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