Monday, May 27, 2024

Promoter for the Mike Tyson-Jake Paul fight in Texas first proposed as an exhibition

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Jake Paul has repeatedly said his fight against Mike Tyson will be a “war’’ because it’s a sanctioned professional bout.

While the intensity of the fight scheduled for July 20 in Texas remains to be seen, a sanctioned pro fight was not always the plan.

Holden Boxing, promoter of the event, initially proposed the fight be an exhibition, said Tela Lange, Communications Manager for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR). The TDLR regulates combat sports in Texas.

The TDLR “indicated’’ it would require two-minute rounds and 14-ounce gloves for an exhibition rather than the standard three-minute rounds and 10-ounce gloves, according to Mange.

Then the plan changed, Mange indicated.

“Once the promoter asked to have a fully sanctioned, professional bout, they asked whether TDLR rules would allow for a professional bout to keep those same gloving and round requirements,’’ she told USA TODAY Sports by email.

TDLR rules allow for sanctioned professional bouts with modifications to the rules, Mange said in reply to why the TDLR sanctioned a fight as pro even though rules required for an exhibition will be in effect.

“We provided a waiver to allow the heavier gloves,” she added.

Mange referred questions about why the plan changed to the promoter. Bryce Holden, the principal of Holden Boxing, has declined to answer questions from USA TODAY Sports about their request regarding an exhibition versus a sanctioned pro fight.

During an interview on Fox News with Sean Hannity April 2, Tyson said the fight would be an exhibition. His last fight, a bout against Roy Jones Jr. in 2020, was an exhibition.

But on April 10, Paul made an appearance on Fox News and said, “Mike and I want this to be a pro fight, full face shots. We’re submitting that request to the (boxing) commission. It’s an all-out war.”

Most Valuable Promotions, co-founded by Paul, announced April 29 the fight had been sanctioned as a pro bout. As a result, the outcome will count on the fighters’ pro records and bout will be scored by official judges.

How intense will the fight be?

This week Tyson and Paul responded to speculation the fight is rigged. But several notable figures in the world of boxing have suggested the bout is a sanctioned pro fight in name only.

“Purely an exhibition!” George Foreman told USA TODAY Sports by text message. “Great for each man. Tyson can’t get hurt and Paul can have a good night as well.”

Winky Wright, a former two-time middleweight world champion, scoffed at the idea the fight will rise to the level of a sanctioned pro bout.

“This is not a real fight,’’ Wright told USA TODAY Sports. “They’re going to go out there and throw some good punches and try to hit each other. But at the end of the day, remember, it’s Mike Tyson (at 58 on the day of the fight)… I hope they have fun. I hope nobody gets hurt. And it is what it is.’’

Buddy McGirt, a former world champion, said of the of the fight being sanctioned as a pro bout, “You can believe that (expletive) if you want. I still don’t believe it’s a real fight.”

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