Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. head into their exhibition fight Saturday with the eyes of the world on them. And understandably so, considering the legacies they each carved inside the boxing ring as licensed professionals.
During their respective primes, both men proved themselves as all-time greats. Tyson was an unstoppable machine, winning the world heavyweight title aged just 20 and becoming undisputed champion. Jones, meanwhile, became a four-weight champ and the first boxer to start at light-middleweight before eventually winning heavyweight gold.
It remains to be seen what Tyson, now 54, and Jones, 51, can do when the opening bell sounds for their eight-round showcase in California on Nov. 28. But here is a look back at some of the fights that led to both of them being able to command such an audience even now.
Tyson def. Trevor Berbick (TKO Round 2), Nov. 22, 1986
After building a brutal reputation with a 27-0 (25 KOs) record early in his career fighting sometimes once every few weeks, Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion aged 20 years and four months when he destroyed defending WBC titleholder Berbick, breathing fresh air into the division in the process.
Tyson def. Michael Spinks (KO Round 1), Jun. 27, 1988
This Atlantic City unification fight had a real "clash of the titans" feel as Tyson put his three "alphabet" titles up against the linear/The Ring belt of fellow unbeaten heavyweight Spinks, who was also regarded as "The People's Champion." When the bell rang -- concluding the "The HBO Heavyweight Boxing Series" -- it was one of Tyson's most emphatic knockkouts and lasted only 91 seconds. The entire bout won "round of the year" in The Ring Magazine, and Spinks never fought again.
Tyson def. Frank Bruno (TKO Round 5), Feb. 25, 1989
The first of two fights between Tyson and popular Brit Bruno, this Las Vegas defense of Tyson's titles saw him staggered by an opponent for the first time. Forced to dig deep, Tyson further cemented his championship credentials by rallying to finish Bruno off in the fifth. He also took the WBC title from Bruno in their 1996 rematch.
James "Buster" Douglas def. Tyson (KO Round 10), Feb. 11, 1990
Tyson was the most famous active boxer on the planet when he headed to the Tokyo Dome in Japan for what appeared to be a routine defense against 40-1 underdog "Buster" Douglas. The unfancied challenger used his jab and a rarely-seen lack of fear against the intimidating Tyson to close the champ's left eye and expose how ill-prepared his corner was for such deep waters. Tyson was knocked down for the first time in his career in Round 10, and would not answer the count. A monumental sporting upset, the result is still referenced during talk of giant-killings to this day.
Evander Holyfield def. Tyson (DQ Round 3), Jun. 28, 1997
An unforgettable fight, for all the wrong reasons. Tyson's return to the top of the heavyweight mountain had been abruptly ended by Holyfield in their first fight the previous November despite "The Real Deal" being largely unfancied to regain the WBA title. In the rematch, it soon became clear that tying the score with Holyfield was the last thing on Tyson's mind. Still fuming over a series of headbutts from Holyfield in the first fight that were ruled accidental by referee Mitch Halpern, Tyson infamously bit the ear of his opponent to temporarily force the fight to be stopped and earn a two point deduction. When the fight resumed, Tyson bit Holyfield's other ear and Mills Lane threw it out. The bout was the most purchased in boxing history for 10 years until Floyd Mayweather vs. Oscar De La Hoya in 2007. And to this day, it remains one of the sport's darkest hours.
Roy Jones Jr.
Jones def. Bernard Hopkins (UD 12), May 22, 1993
At the time, this was the two biggest middleweight prospects doing battle for the vacant IBF crown. After 12 rounds with what he claimed after the fight to be a broken right hand, Jones had comfortably outpointed Hopkins and won his first world championship. Hopkins would avenge this result 17 years later, on Apr. 3, 2010.
Jones def. James Toney (UD 12), Nov. 18, 1994
Jones was the underdog for the first time in his career for the fight dubbed "The Uncivil War." He and super-middleweight Toney were both high on the pound-for-pound rankings at the time of their battle for the latter's IBF super-middleweight champion, but the manner in which Jones outclassed his foe was one of the best big-fight masterclass performances of all time.
Jones def. John Ruiz (UD 12), Mar. 1, 2003
Jones goes into the exhibition vs. Tyson seemingly out of place at heavyweight, but he has been a world champion at the maximum weight class before. When he outpointed Ruiz at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas by wide margins on two of the three scorecards, he became the first boxer to debut at light-middleweight and win world heavyweight gold.
Jones def. Antonio Tarver 1 (MD 12), Nov. 8, 2003
Jones capped a productive calendar year by returning to light-heavyweight and overcoming some visible physical issues due to age and coping without the muscle mass he accrued for the run at heavyweight to defeat Tarver by majority decision, though Tarver would stop Jones in their 2004 rematch before winning the trilogy via unanimous decision in 2005.
Joe Calzaghe def. Jones (UD 12), Nov. 8 2008
The last huge fight of a career littered with big-time match-ups, Jones was unable to become the first man to conquer Calzaghe. Despite scoring an early knockdown in their Madison Square Garden dream fight, Jones struggled to capitalize on the great start and was worn down and busted up by the Welshman. Struggling to box with the blood loss, Jones went on to lose via unanimous decision with the three judges only awarding him one round `— the 10-8 opener. Calzaghe would retire unbeaten after this fight.