John Kavanagh on Mike Tyson vs. Jake Paul boxing match: “I don’t think someone approaching 60 needs to be fighting”

It’s official — and while it’s not the Tyson vs. Paul match-up that was in speculation nearly a year ago, it’s one that’s sure to be every bit as enticing — the Mike Tyson vs. Jake Paul boxing match is set for July 20th at the AT&T Center in Arlington, Texas.

While OG boxing fans who remember Mike Tyson from his glory days as the “Baddest Man on the Planet” and new boxing fans whose interest in the sport was kindled by YouTuber turned professional boxer Jake Paul alike will be zealously looking forward to watching the Mike Tyson vs. Jake Paul matchup take place live on Netflix, one individual who is known for being one of the best combat sports coaches in the world isn’t quite as excited for the match’s outlook.

“I don’t know whether there’s a wink and a nod behind the stage,” John Kavanagh, long-standing coach of Conor McGregor and head of SBG Ireland said on The MMA Hour. “Is Tyson going to be 60, 58? Full force blows to the head at 58. No, it’s not a good idea, no matter who you are. You don’t need to be doing that. If it was kind of an exhibition, and they’re kind of sparring, great. Because I was asked about not necessarily just Mike, but this kind of YouTube boxing stuff, and my take on it now rather than being snobby about it is I just love anything that gets more kids involved in sports. Great if it’s combat sports, boxing wrestling, mixed martial arts, whatever the case may be. And if Jake Paul is doing a good job of filling local boxing gyms — that’s a little bit of what we’re trying to do — brilliant.

Mike Tyson in his younger days/YouTube

“I’m not into the whole whatever else he’s doing, particularly in that bout — I don’t think someone approaching 60 needs to be fighting. It would appear Jake hits hard, he’s knocked out a few guys. So I just hope that it is what it is, it’s kind of an entertaining thing, and they move around the ring and kind of spar. As long as it’s that, thumbs up.”

Kavanagh believes that the Mike Tyson vs. Jake Paul boxing match may be relegated to nothing more than a glorified sparring match, with neither fighter going at 100% effort for entertainment and potential future financial reasons (AKA, a possible rematch). There have been some rules set heading into the fight which signify this could potentially be the case, which include:

  • Fighters over the age of 36 (namely Tyson) must successfully complete an EEG & EKG to detect heart or brain problems. Failing one of these, the fight will not go ahead.
  • Both fighters will wear 16 oz gloves rather than the regular 10 oz gloves
  • Rounds will be scheduled with a duration of 2 minutes rather than the regular 3 minutes
  • No official judges will score the fight – therefore no winner unless a KO

The last rule, which states that no judges will score the fight and that there won’t be a winner unless there is a knockout is particularly interesting — it means that neither fighter will be judged on their performance officially save a knockout.

Kavanagh went on to say that the rules set in place for the Mike Tyson vs. Jake Paul boxing match suggest it will be more of an exhibition in nature, although this might be enough for the type of casual boxing fan that will be most enthusiastic for the fight in the first place.

“I just think the majority of those people are not going to be really high-level boxing aficionados,” Kavanagh said. “Like, what are they really watching for? They want to see a good press conference, maybe a bit of shoving and shouting, whatever else they put on. They’ll want to see a spectacular event, you know, lighting and fireworks, great walkouts.

Jake Paul boxing/YouTube

“But once it goes click, they don’t really know what they’re looking at or they’re not going to have massive interest. I think as well their stomach wouldn’t be able to see really hard fighting. I guess the point I’m making is the majority of people watching this is going to be for the entertainment side of it, so put on an entertaining show.”

Overall however, one aspect of the Mike Tyson vs. Jake Paul boxing match which Kavanagh appreciates is the entertainment value and the general surge of interest in the sport for which it could be the catalyst.

“Look, he could go out there and spark Jake, but there’s a reason why there’s not too many people approaching 60 fighting professionally,” Kavanagh said. “I suppose George Foreman was up there, late 40s. He had that style where he didn’t have to move much, but Tyson, there’s a lot of moving.

“As a gym owner, I think this generates a lot of interest in the sport of boxing, and if this gets a couple of thousand kids to go to the local gym, and maybe a few kids that never heard of Mike Tyson to appreciate him, look back at him in the 80s and 90s — I’m trying to drag the positivity out because I just certainly wouldn’t like to see something like [Woodley], a hero of ours, getting badly knocked out.”

What do you think of the comments made by John Kavanagh on Mike Tyson vs. Jake Paul boxing match? Do you think Tyson is too old to be fighting and taking damage? Do you think he has a chance to knockout Paul? Let us know in the comments.

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