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Not wowed

The Covid-hit sports calendar of 2020 might have thrown up a number of surprise hits with global betting enthusiasts, but it seems the return of Mike Tyson - based on his training videos, possibly the scariest man on the planet - against Roy Jones Jr is not destined to be one of them.

Belarussian football, Taiwanese basketball, League of Legends... at different times, these all caught fire with sports bettors, but this high-profile boxing exhibition seems unable to land a knockout punch with the punters.

Back in 2017, the match-up between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather Jr, hyped as "The biggest fight in combat sport history", or more simply, "The Money Fight", totally lived up to its billing, making it the biggest betting event in Cloudbet's history by number of players.

Fight promoters Triller, a social media app spending millions to try and compete with TikTok, hoped to replicate this excitement, giving the bout a whopping $49.99 pay per view price tag.

There's been no shortage of buzz around Tyson's return either, with his training clips showing the man's a beast - at least for the short time he's on camera - while the Triller/World Star Hip Hop "docu-series" offered a glimpse into both training camps.  Tyson's opener is quite a goodun though:

My mentality is just what it's always been... How do I say this? I'm an annihilator. - Mike Tyson

The bout between the two ageing ex-heavyweight champions of the world takes place on Saturday at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles - on a bizarre card which also features former NBA star Nate Robinson facing YouTuber-turned-Disney Channel star (and Triller investor) Jake Paul.

Yet interest so far from the betting community seems muted to say the least - likening it to that Tiger Woods vs Phil Mickelson PPV head-to back in 2018, which proved a waste of time for all except the two golfers, who netted a huge payday.

Roy Jones Jr's team has been bigging up their man's fitness and "evolution" as a fighter.

Tyson, who last set foot in the ring in 2005, claims his recent persona of a weed-smoking peacenik will be a distant memory the second he gets his gloves on.

But, with both Tyson and Jones Jr the other side of 50, the fight is being held on special exhibition rules - such as "hard sparring" only, no knockouts and the threat of just a cut precipitating an immediate stop from the referee - the only thing to look out for is if these legends of the ring will remember they're not supposed to be fighting for real.

Cloudbet's customer base just isn't buying into this Seniors' Day Out and haven’t spent much time searching for Tyson vs Jones odds.

In fact, 12x the number of bets have been taken by Cloudbet on the Jake Paul (1.42) vs Nate Robinson (2.95) fight, with almost 50x as much turnover than on the main card event.

Current odds on Cloudbet are being offered at Tyson (1.51 and Jones (2.66).

So why have these two legendary boxers agreed to something that could leave their reputations on the ropes? Another ex-champion George Foreman has been in the media saying he thinks he knows.

"It's temporary insanity. I liken it to a guy who wants to get on a boat and go out to sea. It seems like so much fun, so peaceful, so he wants to get out there and do it. Then he gets out there and the big waves start coming and the sea is rough and it's raining and the wind is blowing and he asks himself, 'Lord, why did I ever do this?'

Still, fight fans, or Mike fans, will no doubt be keen to see their man back in the ring. Whether they're willing to pay $50 for the privilege remains to be seen.

But let's get this straight - this is about the entertainment, not the fight.

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Nov 25, 2020

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