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The Astonishing Amount Of Money Roy Jones Jr Turned Down To Fight Mike Tyson In 2003

The Astonishing Amount Of Money Roy Jones Jr Turned Down To Fight Mike Tyson In 2003

Mike Tyson mixed it up with the very best of the best in his glittering professional career but one dream bout that evaded him was a slugfest with Roy Jones Jr, another one of the all-time greats.

Jones Jr, who had 75 fights and 66 wins in a career that only finished in February 2018 at the age of 49, started out in 1989 as a middleweight.

But fast forward to 2003 and Jones Jr was WBA heavyweight world champion following a points win over John Ruiz in March.

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A huge fight with Tyson, who had just knocked out Clifford Etienne, was touted despite 'Iron Mike' nearing the end of his stint in the squared circle.

Image: PA
Image: PA

However, according to Andre Ward, the match-up didn't happen simply because Jones Jr wanted a bigger fight purse.

Image: PA
Image: PA
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Instead, he ended up facing Antonio Tarver back to back, winning one and losing one in far less lucrative fights.

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Ward told: JRE Clips: "There was a [Mike] Tyson fight on the table, and I believe I'm accurate when I say this it was somewhere around $40 million guaranteed.

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"There was an upside too. You stay at heavyweight, keep the weight on, and Tyson wasn't quite Tyson at that time.

'He was still dangerous, but he wasn't quite Tyson. I think they were working towards it. What I heard was Roy wanted more money.

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"Roy somehow said, 'No, the fight will be there down the road,' and put his attention to Antonio Tarver, and the rest is history.

"I wanted to see him fight Tyson and ride off into the sunset. One more and you're out.

"Roy could have had a full career, and rode off into the sunset, hunting and fishing, doing whatever he does, and still not been fundamentally sound."

Tyson would then suffer consecutive defeats to Danny Williams and Kevin McBride in a disappointing end to a stunning career.

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Image: PA
Image: PA

Tyson and Jones Jr will finally meet when they face-off in an exhibition bout on September 12.

Topics: Mike Tyson, Boxing News, Roy Jones Jr, Boxing, Fight News

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Josh Lawless

Josh is a sports journalist who specialises in football and wrestling. He has been published by Curzon Ashton FC, Late Tackle, Manchester City FC, The Mirror, Read Man City and Manchester Evening News. He provides coverage of professional wrestling and has interviewed some of the biggest names in the field - including the first UK interview with The Hardy Boyz after their return to WWE. He has never sported a pair of Lonsdale Slip-ons, contrary to reports.