The well-publicized exhibition bout between retired ring legends Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. has a new date, along with another sanctioned fight added to the undercard.
Less surprising than the news coming from Badou Jack himself was the fact that he’d land on such a show in lieu of bigger plans in store including a hoped-for rematch with former lineal light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal.
Instead, he will land on the rescheduled Triller Pay-Per-View event headlined from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. The revised date—which was widely speculated—was revealed by Jack (22-3-3, 13KOs), who will face Sacramento’s Blake McKernan (13-0, 6KOs) in a supporting contest.
News of his involvement in the event was previously teased, finally coming to fruition with Tuesday’s announcement which still managed to come as a surprise to many in the industry. The former super middleweight and light heavyweight titlist figured to land on one of the many Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) events planned for the balance of 2020, a platform on which he has fought several times since its inception in 2015.
His most recent appearance came last December, dropping a hotly contested 12-round decision to Pascal in one of the best fights of 2019. Hopes of a rematch were slowed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic—and form now by Jack’s decision to move in another direction while of the belief that he would have to wait for part two with the former champ.
“I wanted the rematch with Pascal but I was told Pascal doesn’t want to fight until fans come back,” Jack (22-3-3, 13KOs) claimed—in all caps—on Twitter upon the fight announcement. “So, we’re staying busy in the meantime. If he changes his mind, let’s get it on right away bro! @jeanpascalchamp.”
Jack—who fights under the Mayweather Promotions banner—won his first title on a PBC on Spike telecast, outpointing Anthony Dirrell to win a super middleweight belt in their April 2015 headliner in Chicago. Two years later came his venture into the light heavyweight division, knocking out Nathan Cleverly to win a light heavyweight belt on the Showtime Pay-Per-View undercard of Floyd Mayweather’s final fight of his career in scoring a 10th round knockout of UFC superstar and boxing debutant Conor McGregor in August 2017.
The feat was the last win of Jack’s career. He has since fought to a 12-round draw with then-lineal champion Adonis Stevenson in May 2018, followed by back-to-back decision defeats to Marcus Browne and Jean Pascal.
Plans for a rematch with Pascal not yet being rescheduled vary depending upon whom you ask.
Representatives from PBC and Mayweather Promotions did not respond to separate inquiries placed by BoxingScene.com seeking comment or confirmation. It did, however, spark a response from Team Pascal.
“They are just lying to you, bro,” claimed Greg Leon, Pascal’s longtime manager and owner of boxing website BoxingTalk.com. “We’re ready to go ASAP, they know what time it is. I’m always available for a phone call and, if they want to do it, the deal could be closed in minutes.”
For now, Jack will face McKernan, an unbeaten but largely unproven cruiserweight from Sacramento, California. The 33-year old boxer has not fought since an eight-round win last August in Stockton, California. Three months prior came a non-televised appearance on the May 2019 ESPN telecast in Stockton, which was headlined by Artur Beterbiev’s light heavyweight title defending knockout of Radivoje Kalajdzic.
Whatever thoughts come of the matchup, Jack’s involvement is at least well-intended.
“I’m donating the proceeds to the Badou Jack Foundation to give children across the globe a fighting chance in life,” notes Jack, boxing’s premier philanthropist.
The Triller PPV card will also include a cruiserweight bout between YouTube star and boxing rookie Jake Paul (1-0, 1KO) and former NBA star Nate Robinson, who makes his pro debut.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox