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Should boxing let Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr take more punches to the head? 

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should boxing let mike tyson and roy jones jr take more punches to the head

The comedowns have subsided, The Hangover has come and gone. What now — rebirth or relapse? In the early hours of next Sunday morning, Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jnr will shake off the dust and shuffle back into the hurt arena.

Iron Mike, once the baddest man on the planet, has rusted with age but remains one of sport’s most bewitching characters. Jones is one of the finest fighters of all time, who climbed from middleweight to conquer the heavyweight giants.

For decades, it remained a match-up reserved for wandering minds. ‘Bucket-list material,’ says Jones. Now? Reality — of sorts.

Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jnr make their divisive return to the boxing ring on November 28

Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jnr make their divisive return to the boxing ring on November 28

Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jnr make their divisive return to the boxing ring on November 28

Iron Mike makes his return to the ring for the first time since retiring from the sport in 2005

Iron Mike makes his return to the ring for the first time since retiring from the sport in 2005

Iron Mike makes his return to the ring for the first time since retiring from the sport in 2005 

‘The bout for the ages between two of the most recognisable athletes in history promises to be spectacular,’ say BT Sport, who will broadcast the showpiece on pay-per-view.

‘An exhibition of boxing which brings the sport into the limelight,’ says WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman, who has prepared a special belt for both fighters.

Social video app Triller reportedly paid about £40million to stream the eight-round contest at Los Angeles’ Staples Center.

Jones has suggested he could pocket £7.5m from the fight — none of their big-wig backers is motivated by goodwill. And yet that smell just won’t go away.

The 54-year-old takes on fellow great Jones Jnr, 51, in a controversial bout in Los Angeles

The 54-year-old takes on fellow great Jones Jnr, 51, in a controversial bout in Los Angeles

The 54-year-old takes on fellow great Jones Jnr, 51, in a controversial bout in Los Angeles 

Jones Jnr has fought into his forties and has started training the likes of Chris Eubank Jr

Jones Jnr has fought into his forties and has started training the likes of Chris Eubank Jr

Jones Jnr has fought into his forties and has started training the likes of Chris Eubank Jr

Not just because the genius of Tyson (54) and Jones (51) has decayed in the decades since they reigned. Not just because this circus threatens to distract from heavyweight champions of today and tomorrow. Not just because our blood-lust is piqued by fighters closer to a pension than their prime.

Something else lingers, too. Jones and Tyson are among a glut of ageing heroes peering back down the gold mine — Oscar De La Hoya, 47, Evander Holyfield, 58, Floyd Mayweather, 43 and Marcos Maidana, 37, are all teasing comebacks. Sergio Martinez, 45, has already made his.

It’s a gloomily familiar tale. The surge of celebrity fights posing as legitimate contests.

In Los Angeles, the ‘co-main event’ alongside Tyson-Jones sees YouTuber Jake Paul (1-0, 20.2million subscribers) face former NBA player Nate Robinson (0-0).

Benefactors insist video stars bring new fans to boxing. Many believe it makes a mockery of the sport, insulting those fighters battling for riches and recognition.

Tyson has mellowed since retiring, from the once fearsome baddest man on the planet

Tyson has mellowed since retiring, from the once fearsome baddest man on the planet

Tyson has mellowed since retiring, from the once fearsome baddest man on the planet

Despite his age, Tyson has looked in phenomenal shape in a series of training clips shared

Despite his age, Tyson has looked in phenomenal shape in a series of training clips shared

Despite his age, Tyson has looked in phenomenal shape in a series of training clips shared

That won’t be lost on BT viewers. Before Tyson-Jones — and available to all subscribers — Britain’s Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce meet in a mouthwatering heavyweight clash, deserving of more prominence.

‘It’s all right, it’s a great night of boxing,’ says Joyce. You wonder whether Tyson would have been so diplomatic during his heyday.

On December 12, Anthony Joshua faces Kubrat Pulev. Had the December 5 homecoming of Tyson Fury — named after Iron Mike — not been canned, the former undisputed heavyweight champion and his two heirs-apparent would have all fought within 14 days of each other. Tyson earned that crown before Fury was born. Against such a jarring backdrop, what to make of his return?

Should we embrace this charitable venture — Tyson has vowed to donate his fight purse — particularly at such turbulent times, as Sulaiman believes.

But the bout between the two boxing greats remains divisive among fans and pundits

But the bout between the two boxing greats remains divisive among fans and pundits

But the bout between the two boxing greats remains divisive among fans and pundits

Is it a fun excuse for nostalgia? David Haye, for instance, is excited to see Jones — his ‘childhood hero’ — face Iron Mike.

Or, as Frank Warren says, is it a ‘sad’ spectacle? One we should ignore, rather than encourage.

‘I find it strange when people say they shouldn’t come back,’ says Haye, the former heavyweight king turned BT pundit. ‘Imagine if Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras said “we want to have an exhibition match”.

‘Would the tennis world go “This is disgusting, we don’t want to see these guys, they probably won’t be able to serve over 100mph”? No, they’ll say “Let’s watch and enjoy these old greats do what they want to do”.

‘That is how I see it — two great fighters who have probably taken hundreds of thousands of punches in the head. Who cares if they want to take a couple more in their 50s?’

Tyson and Jones Jr are arguably taking the shine from Joe Joyce and Daniel Dubois' bout

Tyson and Jones Jr are arguably taking the shine from Joe Joyce and Daniel Dubois' bout

Tyson and Jones Jr are arguably taking the shine from Joe Joyce and Daniel Dubois’ bout 

Promoter Frank Warren has labelled the match up a 'sad' spectacle between two boxing greats

Promoter Frank Warren has labelled the match up a 'sad' spectacle between two boxing greats

Promoter Frank Warren has labelled the match up a ‘sad’ spectacle between two boxing greats

Sulaiman adds: ‘We all have concerns because of the age factor but this is an exhibition.’

The California State Athletic Commission were cautious enough to insist both fighters faced ‘thorough’ medical exams and anti-doping tests. They will wear oversized gloves and have been told not to go for the knockout.

‘We can’t mislead the public that this is some kind of real fight,’ said commission executive director Andy Foster. ‘It’s going to look like a boxing match — but I don’t want people to get hurt.’

Easier said than done. Especially when neither Jones nor Tyson is preparing for a tickling contest.

‘I’m coming to fight and I hope he’s coming to fight,’ says Tyson, who claimed he would have to leave the family home before his alter-ego takes over. Both men railed against fighting ‘women’s’ two-minute rounds, with Jones adding: ‘Who goes into the ring with the legendary Mike Tyson and thinks it’s an exhibition?’

Former heavyweight champion David Haye has supported the fight between the pair

Former heavyweight champion David Haye has supported the fight between the pair

Former heavyweight champion David Haye has supported the fight between the pair

Joyce has also expressed intrigue into how the fight between Tyson and Jones Jr will turn out

Joyce has also expressed intrigue into how the fight between Tyson and Jones Jr will turn out

Joyce has also expressed intrigue into how the fight between Tyson and Jones Jr will turn out

Tyson has not boxed professionally for 15 years, when his yo-yo career ended in consecutive defeats.

Having become the youngest-ever heavyweight champion, he battled drink and drugs, bankruptcy and bipolar disorder, prison and even cannibalistic urges.

By 2009, the only punch many younger fans had seen him land came in the comedy film, The Hangover. He claims to be lighter than at any point since his teens, while viral training clips suggest he can still move with menace.

‘He just looks straight savage,’ laughs Joyce. ‘You wouldn’t want him on the other side of the ring.’

Haye says: ‘If Tyson throws five bursts, of five-to-10 seconds each, I think it’s over. He’s either knocked Jones out or he’s punched himself out.’

But should boxing question whether it is right for two men in their fifties to enter the ring?

But should boxing question whether it is right for two men in their fifties to enter the ring?

But should boxing question whether it is right for two men in their fifties to enter the ring?

Regardless, people will tune in to see if any part of the baddest man on the planet remains

Regardless, people will tune in to see if any part of the baddest man on the planet remains

Regardless, people will tune in to see if any part of the baddest man on the planet remains

Jones’ road has been no less rocky. He fought until 2018 when he was 49. He now trains Chris Eubank Jnr following fighting ventures to Latvia and Russia — where he earned citizenship from Vladimir Putin.

‘We’re freaks,’ says Jones. ‘That’s why this is such a big thing.’

But what next? Tyson insists his comeback will last until his ‘Legends Only League’ (a venture to bring back sporting icons) runs out of legs.

‘I’m going to help a lot of people and my legend is going to be that I gave a lot more than I took,’ he said.

That doesn’t sound much like the old Iron Mike, who once said he wanted to eat Lennox Lewis’ children.

The cold truth? Everyone tuning in on Sunday morning will hope at least a shred of that baddest man remains. 

BT Sport’s night of heavyweight action on November 28 begins with Daniel Dubois v Joe Joyce on BT Sport 1 from 7:30pm. Tyson v Jones Jnr will be live on BT Sport Box Office from 1am and can be watched on BT TV, Virgin TV, Sky, online via the web or the BT Sport Box Office App.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham ‘among clubs interested in Brighton centre back Ben White’

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manchester united chelsea and tottenham among clubs interested in brighton centre back ben white

Manchester United are among a host of Premier League clubs monitoring the progress of highly-rated Brighton centre back Ben White. 

The 23-year-old has started all 10 Premier League games for the Seagulls this season, forming a solid defensive partnership in a back-three with Lewis Dunk and Adam Webster on the south coast. 

United, who have a host of defenders on their books, are interested in White though as are rivals Chelsea and Tottenham according to Sky Sports, despite both clubs also having a number of centre backs in their first-team squads. 

Ben White signed a four-year deal at Brighton and has played every league game this season

Ben White signed a four-year deal at Brighton and has played every league game this season

Ben White signed a four-year deal at Brighton and has played every league game this season

The 23-year-old is being monitored by a host of top Premier League clubs, including Man Utd

The 23-year-old is being monitored by a host of top Premier League clubs, including Man Utd

The 23-year-old is being monitored by a host of top Premier League clubs, including Man Utd

The report details that White is the Premier League’s fourth-best performing centre back, behind Kurt Zouma and Thiago Silva of Chelsea and Arsenal’s Gabriel, according to digital scouting service Wyscout. 

White spent last season on loan at Leeds United and played in every single Championship game as he helped Marco Bielsa’s side gain promotion to the top-flight. 

Leeds tried to sign the centre back permanently in the summer as a result of his reliability last season, but a bid in the region of £25m was rejected and he signed a new four-year deal at the Amex Stadium. 

Prior to his season at Elland Road, White spent time on loan at Newport County in League Two, and Peterborough United in League One, working his way up the EFL ladder before solidifying a place in the Brighton starting XI.  

White (centre) was part of the Leeds side which won promotion to the top-flight last season

White (centre) was part of the Leeds side which won promotion to the top-flight last season

White (centre) was part of the Leeds side which won promotion to the top-flight last season

White is the fourth-best performing centre back, behind likes of Thiago Silva and Kurt Zouma

White is the fourth-best performing centre back, behind likes of Thiago Silva and Kurt Zouma

White is the fourth-best performing centre back, behind likes of Thiago Silva and Kurt Zouma 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United were reportedly looking at centre backs in the summer, but are still well stocked in the position with players such as Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Axel Tuanzebe, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo. 

Similarly, Chelsea have strength in depth after acquiring Silva on a free transfer from PSG but nevertheless are keeping an eye on White’s progress. 

Tottenham bought Joe Rodon from Swansea in the final week of the transfer window, and he made his full debut at the weekend in the goalless draw against Chelsea. 

Yet with Toby Alderweireld struggling with an injury, Jose Mourinho is continuing to monitor defensive options with less than a month until the January transfer window opens. 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Daniel Cormier urges old rival Jon Jones to face Curtis Blaydes in heavyweight debut

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daniel cormier urges old rival jon jones to face curtis blaydes in heavyweight debut

A fight at heavyweight between Jon Jones and Curtis Blaydes ‘makes all the sense in the world’, according to Daniel Cormier. 

Jones is moving up a division having vacated his light-heavyweight title and is targeting a massive showdown against Stipe Miocic. 

Blaydes was supposed to take on Derrick Lewis last Saturday but tested positive for coronavirus, meaning the match-up was cancelled.  

Jon Jones has vacated his light-heavyweight title and is moving up to heavyweight

Jon Jones has vacated his light-heavyweight title and is moving up to heavyweight

Jon Jones has vacated his light-heavyweight title and is moving up to heavyweight 

A fight with Curtis Blaydes (right) would make 'all the sense in the world', says Daniel Cormier

A fight with Curtis Blaydes (right) would make 'all the sense in the world', says Daniel Cormier

A fight with Curtis Blaydes (right) would make ‘all the sense in the world’, says Daniel Cormier

Cormier believes it would now work in ‘Bones” favour to meet Blaydes first to get used to life at heavyweight. 

‘Jones needs a heavyweight fight. I say move Blaydes to Jones. … It makes all the sense in the world,’ he said on ESPN’s DC & Helwani show.

‘(If) Jones beats Blaydes, nobody will ever say he doesn’t belong at heavyweight. (If) Blaydes beats Jones, now he has beaten the greatest of all time – in people’s minds – going up to heavyweight. He’ll get his title shot right away.’

Blaydes himself had discussed the possibility of fighting Jones prior to the cancelled fight with Lewis. 

Cormier, Jones's old rival, believes Jones needs a fight before taking on Stipe Miocic

Cormier, Jones's old rival, believes Jones needs a fight before taking on Stipe Miocic

Cormier, Jones’s old rival, believes Jones needs a fight before taking on Stipe Miocic 

‘No, I’m not (fighting Jones),’ Blaydes told TSN. ‘If I win this fight (with Lewis), I want the title shot. I’m not going to be cannon fodder to build up someone else. 

‘I’ve already built up myself and I feel like I’ve earned that. I feel like I don’t have to take that fight if I don’t need it. That’s a title fight. I’m not fighting Jon Jones to prove that I deserve a heavyweight title shot, that’s ridiculous.

‘We’re talking about money. I’m not going to fight Jon Jones for 200k, that’s ridiculous. 

Jones is looking to enhance his legacy having dominated light-heavyweight for so long

Jones is looking to enhance his legacy having dominated light-heavyweight for so long

Jones is looking to enhance his legacy having dominated light-heavyweight for so long 

‘I think that a lot of people forget that we get paid what we get paid regardless of who the opponent is. So I don’t need to fight Jon Jones to make my 200k. I can fight a bum and make 200k. If I fight Jon Jones, I want that money.’

So it seems Blaydes would play hardball in negotiations with the UFC if they were to schedule a fight with Jones. 

It also remains to be seen if ‘Bones’ would be interested or if he only has eyes for the championship belt. 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Mauricio Pochettino ‘becomes favourite ahead of Raul to replace Zinedine Zidane’ as Real Madrid boss

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mauricio pochettino becomes favourite ahead of raul to replace zinedine zidane as real madrid boss

Mauricio Pochettino has become the leading candidate to replace Zinedine Zidane as Real Madrid boss, according to reports in Spain.

The pressure continues to mount on Zidane after he saw his team fall to another disappointing defeat in the Champions League by Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday, leaving their chances of qualifying for the knockout stages hanging by a thread.

According to Marca, Real will look to Pochettino if they decide to part ways with Zidane, who defiantly insisted that he would not quit despite their poor run of form.

Mauricio Pochettino is reportedly being lined up to replace Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid

Mauricio Pochettino is reportedly being lined up to replace Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid

Mauricio Pochettino is reportedly being lined up to replace Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid

The Frenchman has come under increasing pressure following a poor run of results at Real

The Frenchman has come under increasing pressure following a poor run of results at Real

The Frenchman has come under increasing pressure following a poor run of results at Real

No contact has been made with Pochettino as of yet, but Real know that reaching an agreement with the former Tottenham manager would not be an issue, given that the Argentine has never hidden his desire to manage the club one day.

The report also claims that the club’s legendary striker Raul is also in the running for the job but is seen as one for the future as he continues to cut his teeth with the club’s Castilla side.

Zidane came out swinging after Shakhtar completed the group stage double over them on Tuesday night, before telling reporters that he will not step aside in this ‘difficult’ moment.

‘I feel strong and I am going to keep giving everything as always,’ Zidane said after the defeat.

Real's legendary striker Raul, who's in charge of club's Castilla side, is also in the running

Real's legendary striker Raul, who's in charge of club's Castilla side, is also in the running

Real’s legendary striker Raul, who’s in charge of club’s Castilla side, is also in the running

‘I am not going to resign. This is a difficult moment but we have to show our pride and our character.’

Real were looking for revenge for October’s surprise 3-2 home reverse, but second-half goals from Dentinho and Solomon stunned them again.

Real have never failed to qualify for the knockout stages of a Champions League campaign in 24 attempts, but they have work to do now, while Shakhtar have a real chance of reaching the last 16 after climbing into second spot. 

Madrid were helped by Inter Milan’s victory over Borussia Monchengladbach later on Tuesday which leaves them still with their fate in their own hands. 

If they beat the Germans at home next week, one point above them on top of the group, they will qualify.

Madrid could still finish top if they win and Inter beat Shakhtar, but they could also finish bottom if they lose and Inter win. 

Real were beaten by Shakhtar Donetsk for a second time this season on Tuesday evening

Real were beaten by Shakhtar Donetsk for a second time this season on Tuesday evening

Real were beaten by Shakhtar Donetsk for a second time this season on Tuesday evening

Real host Borussia Monchengladbach needing to better Shakhtar's result against Inter Milan

Real host Borussia Monchengladbach needing to better Shakhtar's result against Inter Milan

Real host Borussia Monchengladbach needing to better Shakhtar’s result against Inter Milan

Asked if he thought the team had serious problems, Zidane admitted: ‘This is a combination of things. The other day [in the league defeat to Alaves] we did not deserve to win, but tonight we did.

‘We prepared well for this game as if it was a final. Now we know that we have to win our final match.’

Real Madrid have just started a run of nine games in 33 days and in the league they have Sevilla and Atletico Madrid on the horizon. 

The reigning LaLiga champions are currently fourth in the table and are seven points adrift of league leaders Real Sociedad. 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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