The opening salvos ahead of this weekend’s boxing exhibition between Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. have been fired on social media, as the two ring icons exchange jibes while bragging that the fight is set to ‘break PPV records’.

Tyson and Jones will attempt to defy their respective ages when they roll back the years on Saturday inside the Staples Center in Los Angeles for their eight-round exhibition, but what was initially considered to be little more than a pugilistic curiosity appears to have generated significant public interest.

Reports online suggest that the fight has already broken pay-per-view presale records which, according to a source posted by Jones online, means that the vintage contest between the two fifty-somethings is trending towards becoming the “most anticipated PPV fight of the decade”.

Now, this might be slightly misleading given that the current decade is still just 11 months old and a significant portion of that was derailed by the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic. However, for this claim to be true would mean that it would need to outsell February’s rematch between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder which garnered 1.2 million global sales – a figure thought by most to be out of reach for the Tyson-Jones showdown. 

It is more likely that the fight will outsell previous events to have taken place on broadcaster FITE, if not quite hitting the mark established by the premium UFC and boxing events of recent times. That hasn’t stopped both Tyson and Jones from launching into promo mode, though.

Numbers don’t lie. haters are mad they can’t get numbers like this. Saturday is reckoning. @RealRoyJonesJr you better be ready

A post shared by Roy Jones Jr. (@royjonesjrofficial)

Numbers don’t lie,” Tyson wrote online.

Haters are mad they can’t get numbers like this. Saturday is reckoning. Roy Jones Jr., you better be ready.”

Tyson’s call to action was quickly answered by Jones, who assured his opponent that he was more than ready for the whirlwind of action Tyson is expected to bring with him to the ring.

Man, this is what I do,” Jones answered.

I only lost [previous fights] because I wasn’t interested. This right here is bucket list. Think I ain’t ready, when I am. See you Saturday.”

A post shared by Mike Tyson (@miketyson)

So, there appears to be significant public curiosity ahead of this weekend’s fight, but what exactly will it look like? Some fights fans have been surprised to learn this week that the bout will take place under a unique set of rules – among them a strict (if somewhat unenforceable) “no knockouts” rule. 

In addition, no official winner of the so-called “sparring exhibition” will be announced (though an unofficial winner will be declared by three ex-pros ringside on behalf of the WBC). Furthermore, the official rules state that if either Tyson or Jones sustains a cut in the fight that it will be immediately called off. 

Whether or not fans will tune in despite, or even without knowing, these rules will remain to be seen, but a scenario can certainly be imagined where scores of fight fans become disgruntled at watching an aging Mike Tyson navigate an exhibition bout without being able to use the dynamic power which marked his legendary pro career.