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Tyson vs. Jones Jr.: Confusion abounds over betting and KO rules

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Different sources say different things about knockouts and betting for this weekend’s Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr. exhibition bout.

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Recently Andy Foster, head of the California State Athletic Commission, spoke about the upcoming boxing bout between Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr., which is scheduled for Saturday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

According to Foster the event, which is available on FITE.TV and Triller for $49.99, would not include judges or a winner and that both men would be awarded with a ceremonial belt. Furthermore Foster said that neither man would be permitted to go for knockouts and that the bout was little more than a hard sparring session. Foster also said there would be no betting on the event.

This assessment of the event elicited laughter from UFC President Dana White and confusion from many others.

Yesterday, after Foster’s comments became widely disseminated, Ryan Kavanaugh of Triller fired out a message that contradicted much of what Foster said.

Bloody Elbow alum, and current CBS Sports’ contributor, Brent Brookhouse shared that message over twitter:

“Know there have been some false rumors swirling, so to be crystal clear—The WBC is scoring the fight,” read the message attributed to Kavanaugh. “There could be a knockout and there will be one winner. Anyone who says there is going to be no judging or no winner either does not understand the rules or has their own agenda. Unquestionably. 100%. DraftKings is the betting partner and is taking bets on the fight in New Jersey, New Hampshire and Illinois. The only difference in this fight is the gloves are 12 ounces, there are eight rounds and the rounds are two minutes rather than three. That is it.”

A separate statement from Kavanaugh was then published on MMA Fighting. In that statement Kavanaugh said, “We at Triller have no issues with the commission or Mr. Foster and did not mean to contradict anything that may have been said by them,”

“We enjoy a strong almost two-decade relationship with the Governor and mayor’s office and the state of California and would appreciate if the record could be set straight.

“Specifically, we never meant to imply that CSAC was scoring this or deciding on a winner. We are 100 percent clear that is not correct. CSAC has provided a referee, and that ref is there to make sure the fighters are safe and to make sure they fight under the rules. He will not be scoring the fight nor deciding a winner. Rather the WBC has been engaged to both score and elect a winner. They have three judges who will judge remotely (due to COVID and like other fights have been provided recently) on behalf of the WBC, and not on behalf of CSAC, who will be deciding the winner and judging the fight.”

WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman sent a statement to Yahoo Sports to clarify that body’s role in the fight.

“The only authority is the California State Athletic Commission,” wrote Sulaiman. “The WBC is celebrating this great event and providing a special award of honor to both Tyson and Jones Jr. with a unique WBC belt. For added entertainment and technology demonstration, there will be three celebrity judges in an unofficial capacity.”

Clear as mud.

I guess we will have to see what happens on fight night. Bloody Elbow will be tracking all the action from the Staples Center, including a pro bout (we think) between former NBA player Nate Robinson and YouTuber Jake Paul.