DraftKings has Jake Paul favored vs. Mike Tyson

DraftKings has Jake Paul favored vs. Mike Tyson

The official rules were announced Monday for ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson’s showdown versus Jake Paul on July 20 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

It will be a professional fight sanctioned by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations, the first such competition for the 57-year-old Tyson since 2005. The heavyweight contest will be limited to eight two-minute rounds using the standard 14-ounce gloves.

Tyson (50-6, 44 KOs) will be 58 by the time of the fight, while Paul (9-1, 6 KOs) is 27. The 31-year gap in age is the largest in pro boxing history, surpassing the 24-year difference between 49-year-old Archie Moore and 25-year-old Mike DiBiase when they collided in 1963.

Moore scored a third-round knockout over DiBiase, but Moore had remained active and actually competed four times in 1962. Other than an amateur bout against Roy Jones Jr. on Nov. 28 of 2020 that ended in a split draw after eight rounds, Tyson hasn’t stepped into the ring since retiring on his stool after the sixth round of a loss to journeyman Kevin McBride in 2005.

DraftKings opened Paul as a -170 favorite on Monday afternoon. Just before midnight, the odds were adjusted to -185. Since then, the number has bounced from -170 to -190 and, as of 11:30 a.m. Eastern on Thursday, had settled at -180. Tyson was a +135 underdog.

FanDuel opened Paul as a -170 ‘chalk’ yesterday. Since then, it has slightly adjusted ‘The Problem Child’ to a -172 favorite, leaving Tyson as a +140 underdog.

Under the tutelage of famed boxing manager and trainer Cus D’Amato, who became his legal guardian during his teen years, Tyson enjoyed a decorated amateur career. He turned pro at the age of 18 in March of 1985, winning his first 15 fights that year.

However, three days after improving to 11-0 with a 54-second knockout win over Sterling Benjamin, D’Amato died of pneumonia at the age of 77.

Tyson, who was arrested 38 times by the age of 13, caught the attention of a juvenile counselor and former boxer, Bobby Stewart, at the Tryon School for Boys. Stewart recognized Tyson’s boxing skills and trained him for several months before introducing him to D’Amato, who instantly knew he had been gifted a special talent in Tyson.

D’Amato and his wife taught Tyson, who had grown up in poverty without a father, right and wrong and showered him with love. D’Amato’s death was a crushing personal blow to Tyson.

Nevertheless, Tyson continued to get excellent boxing training from Kevin Rooney, who was one of D’Amato’s protégés. His rise to stardom continued, as Tyson won 26 of his first 28 fights by KO or TKO, with 16 of those finishes coming in the first round.

At the age of 20 on Nov. 22 of 1986, Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in boxing history by starching Trevor Berbick via second-round KO to win the WBC belt in Las Vegas.

He quickly became one of the world’s most famous athletes. Tyson often stated that he wanted to be the “most ruthless and ferocious” heavyweight champion ever and, from 1986 to 1990, he was. (Paul was born in 1997.)

When I was in my teens in the late ’80s, I had only one goal when I watched Tyson fight. That was for his opponent to survive the opening frame just so I could see the fear in his eyes for 60 seconds between the first and second rounds.

After destroying Berbick, Tyson added the WBC strap to his belt collection with a win over James Smith. Two fights later, he retained his belts and added the IBF heavyweight title by defeating Tony Tucker.

Tyson would successfully defend the heavyweight title nine times, including a 91-second KO win over Michael Spinks and a 93-second KO of Carl Williams.

But in late 1988, Tyson’s life outside the ring was in turmoil. He was going through a divorce with actress Robin Givens, who had humiliated him in a joint interview on 20/20 with Barbara Walters, describing their marriage as “torture, pure hell, worse than anything I could possibly imagine.”

Tyson fired Rooney and manager Bill Clayton, replacing him with Don King in what proved to be a financial disaster. These were the circumstances going into his bout against James ‘Buster’ Douglas on Feb. 11 of 1990 at the Tokyo Dome in Japan.

Douglas wasn’t given much of a shot against Tyson, who entered the contest with a 37-0 record. In fact, The Mirage in Las Vegas was the only book that bothered posting odds, listing Douglas as a 42/1 underdog.

Just 23 days before the fight, Douglas’s mother passed away of a stroke. Instead of pulling out of the scrap, though, Douglas wanted to compete in her honor.

And did he ever?! Douglas took it to Tyson early and often, using his jab to pepper the champ, who did a lot of partying and minimal training going into the bout. He wasn’t moving his head and was a sitting target for Douglas, the Columbus, OH., product with nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Without Rooney, Tyson’s corner was such a disaster that it wasn’t even prepared with an enswell or an ice pack to deal with potential swelling. Therefore, the incompetent group embarrassingly broke out a latex glove filled with ice water and applied it to Tyson’s swelling left eye between rounds.

Although he was being beaten thoroughly, Tyson was able to drop Douglas with a thunderous right uppercut in the eighth round. Many contested that Douglas was given a long count, but he made it back up when the referee was at nine. He survived the round.

In the ninth, Douglas had recovered and started taking it back to Tyson, who barely survived the stanza. In the 10th, Douglas closed the show, first landing a hellacious right uppercut that wobbled Tyson, followed by a right and a left that sent him to the canvas.

As Tyson attempted to get up, he saw his mouthpiece and clumsily tried to grab it. By the time he got to his feet, the referee’s count was at 10 and it was over.

After Sugar Ray Leonard (“Unbelievable!”) and Larry Merchant (“This makes Cinderella look like a sad story.”) had their say on the HBO broadcast, Jim Lampley said, “Let’s go ahead and call it the biggest upset in the history of heavyweight championship fights. Say it now, gentlemen: James ‘Buster’ Douglas, undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.”

Tyson, who was still only 23 when he lost to Douglas, responded with a four-fight winning streak, but he was charged with raping 18-year-old Desiree Washington in July of 1991 in an Indianapolis hotel room. He was eventually convicted and sentenced to six years in prison.

Tyson served 35 months of that sentence, emerging from prison as a Muslim. He won his first four fights to set up a long-awaited showdown against Evander Holyfield, who beat Tyson via 11th-round KO on Nov. 9 of 1996.

In the rematch eight months later, Holyfield was getting the best of Tyson in the first two rounds. Sensing that things weren’t going to go his way, Tyson started to fight dirty, going so far as to bite Holyfield’s ear late in the second frame.

Referee Mills Lane halted the bout temporarily, taking two points away from Tyson and issuing a stern warning. Tyson went on to bite Holyfield’s ear again in the third round, resulting in a disqualification.

The disgraced Tyson was suspended for a year, but he eventually returned to the ring and went 3-0 with two no-contests in his next five fights, setting up a showdown for the belt against Lennox Lewis.

Lewis destroyed Tyson and finished him via eighth-round KO. To his credit, however, Tyson took that assbeating like a man. Unlike the rematch with Holyfield when he looked for a way out, Tyson kept swinging for fences, but his skills had eroded too much to be competitive with Lewis.

After the devastating setback, Tyson would fight just three more times, going 1-2. His post-retirement life seemed doomed for failure, as many understandably predicted a return to prison or some sort of tragic end.

There was a DUI arrest in 2007 and a charge for possession of marijuana, but there were no violent episodes. By 2012, Tyson had started to repair his image.

In many interviews, he was self-deprecating, ridiculing himself for so many foolish mistakes in his younger years. He and Holyfield made amends, with Tyson even doing commercials promoting Holyfield’s barbeque sauce. Tyson’s autobiography appeared on the New York Times Best Seller list.

For the last decade, Tyson has been a fan favorite once again. He’s stayed out of trouble and remained in the public eye, giving his opinions on combat sports and everything else on his ‘Hotboxin’ with Mike Tyson podcast.

As for what happened in that Indianapolis hotel room, only two people will ever know the truth about that incident. Tyson has always maintained that the sex was consensual and, to be clear, there are many people that have believed him.

Washington gave one interview to 20/20’s Barbara Walters in 1992 before intentionally disappearing from the public’s eye.

Paul is a YouTuber turned boxer who has made a lot of money and brought a lot of eyeballs to the sport since making his debut in January of 2020.

He hasn’t fought any established boxers, though. In fact, most of his wins have come against aging former UFC fighters and several of them were making their professional debuts in the squared circle.

That was the case with Ben Askren, who was a decorated wrestler who shined in mixed martial arts thanks to his ground game but was known to basically have zero skills as a striker.

Paul predictably scored a first-round KO win over Askren in April of 2021. In what clearly displayed how immature and delusional Paul is, he celebrated the win over Askren by falling to his knees and crying.

Next, he chose former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley as his next opponent. Woodley was a powerful striker in the Octagon but, like Askren, was making his boxing debut at the age of 39 (Askren was 36 when he lost to Paul).

Woodley went the distance on Aug. 29 of 2021, but Paul captured a split-decision win. Both fighters earned a salary of $2 million.

Paul was booked to face Tommy Fury, Tyson’s brother, four months later, but Fury pulled out 12 days ahead of the bout due to a bacterial chest infection and a broken rib. Woodley decided to step in on extremely short notice for a rematch. Paul prevailed again via sixth-round KO.

Then on Oct. 29 of 2022, Paul faced 47-year-old Anderson Silva, who is one of the greatest fighters in UFC history. Silva actually had a 3-1 record in four previous pro boxing matches, although his boxing debut came in 1998 and his second appearance was in 2005.

Paul defeated Silva via unanimous decision to improve to 6-0. Finally, Paul was booked again to face Fury in Saudi Arabia on Feb. 26 of 2023. Fury handed Paul his first career loss by split decision.

On Aug. 5 of 2023, Nate Diaz made his pro boxing debut against Paul at American Airlines Arena in Dallas. Paul won a UD in a 10-round bout.

Since then, Paul has earned back-to-back first-round KO wins over Andre August and Ryan Bourland, with the win over Bourland coming on March 2.

Paul has never faced anyone of Tyson’s ilk, and it will be his heavyweight debut. Nevertheless, it’s against a man who is nearing 60 years of age.

Like all the other previous fights in his not-very-legit boxing “career,” Paul will make a lot of greenbacks and won’t really prove anything if he’s able to win. Once again, he has every advantage with an opponent that’s more than three decades past his prime.

But if Tyson wins? Man, that’ll make for a fun Saturday night in late July!