Avila Perspective, Chap. 276: Notes on AJ vs Ngannou and Mike Tyson vs Jake Paul


By David A. Avila

Fighting is fighting.

Whether it’s influencers, celebrities, former champions or retired athletes, when it comes to trading blows people like watching human beings knock out other human beings.

It is human nature.

Former heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (27-3, 24 KOs) meets MMA champion Francis Ngannou (0-1) on Friday, March 8, at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The Matchroom Boxing and Queensbury Boxing card will be streamed on PPV.Com.

You are not mistaken in wondering why Joshua is fighting someone with no wins in pro boxing.

Let me explain: last October Ngannou knocked down heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and barely lost by decision. It was a shocking result to see an MMA fighter with no pro boxing experience nearly topple the current heavyweight king.

"I think I haven't shocked the world yet,” Ngannou said.

It’s a new age for prizefighting.

When it comes to fighting, I’ve always maintained that the best fighter in the world is not necessarily a professional. He could be a normal looking person who has never put on gloves but with natural fighting abilities that just cannot be taught.

Ngannou just might be that guy.

When the former UFC champion dropped Fury in the third round it was pretty unbelievable. The boxing world champion has one of the better chins in the business. Of course, Fury was able to use his boxing skills to wrangle a win by split decision after 10 rounds.

Throughout boxing history boxers like Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali and Oscar De La Hoya have ventured into crossover or celebrity fights for money. It piques the interest of fans. It’s like watching a car crash.

Joshua has already been through this kind of affair. Remember when he accepted the much smaller and seemingly unfit Andy Ruiz?

"It's our duty to do what we've got to do. We work for these people out here, do you know what I mean?” said Joshua at the press conference. “These are the fights that they want to see. We're here to entertain them, so I feel the pressure.”

The physically imposing former heavyweight champion lost three times to foes that seemed too small to cause problems. Now he faces someone his size with knockout power and with muscles that probably pop the buttons on his shirts if he flexes.

Ngannou has power to spare. Joshua’s chin has limits.

“I want to thank AJ for also being part of this. It always takes two to tango, so thank you for being here and for making this happen,” Ngannou told Joshua.

Also on the same card, China’s Zhilei “Big Bang” Zhang (26-1-1, 21 KOs) meets New Zealand’s Joseph Parker (34-3, 23 KOs) in another intriguing heavyweight clash.

The last time Parker fought he upset former world champion Deontay Wilder. In each of Zhang’s last two matches he knocked out Britain’s Joe Joyce.

Anything can happen when it comes to heavyweights.

Tyson and Jake Paul

It was announced that influencer fighter Jake Paul will fight former boxing great Mike Tyson on July 20 at ATT Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Netflix will stream the Most Valuable Promotions card.

It is not a pay-per-view event, according to MVP. It is free to Netflix subscribers.

We just saw Paul score another first round knockout against a professional boxer this past weekend. Now he’s enticed the mighty Tyson to return to the prize ring at age 57.

Tyson is the most recognizable name in boxing today. Though he last fought professionally in 2005, he did fight an exhibition with Roy Jones Jr. in November 2020 that drew more than 1.6 million pay-per-views.

“He's grown significantly as a boxer over the years, so it will be a lot of fun to see what the will and ambition of a “kid” can do with the experience and aptitude of a GOAT,” stated Tyson. “It's a full circle moment that will be beyond thrilling to watch; as I started him on his boxing journey on the undercard of my fight with Roy Jones and now I plan to finish him.”

Paul has already proven to be a big draw in boxing. When you combine Paul and Tyson’s marketing appeal it is easy to understand that drawing 2 million or more pay-per-views is very reachable.

“It’s crazy to think that in my second pro fight, I went viral for knocking out Nate Robinson on Mike Tyson’s undercard. Now, less than four years later, I’m stepping up to face Tyson myself to see if I have what it takes to beat one of boxing’s most notorious fighters and biggest icons,” said Jake Paul.

Jim Lampley

Legendary boxing commentator Jim Lampley will be doing the broadcast for the Anthony Joshua and Francis Ngannou heavyweight contest on Friday March 8, on PPV.COM. The Matchroom and Queensbury Promotions card begins at 10 a.m. Pacific Time.

“As time goes by and there are more and more boxing matches governed by boxing rules between boxers (Joshua) and MMA combatants (Ngannou), it’s clear the technical gap is closing,” said Lampley who leads the commentary on PPV.COM.

Lampley will be joined by Kevin Iole on the broadcast and will be texting live with fans during the fight card. It’s a great opportunity to interact with the two legendary boxing journalists.

Fights to Watch

Fri. PPV.Com 10 a.m. Anthony Joshua (27-3) vs Francis Ngannou (0-1); Zhilei Zhang (26-1-1) vs Joseph Parker (34-3); Rey Vargas (36-1) vs Nick Ball (19-0).

Photo credit: Mark Robinson / Matchroom
If this fight is a real fight and both guys are actually trying to win, there’s no reason to think Tyson will be anything but outworked and outfought by the younger and yes, better, Jake Paul. Tyson is an ancient pothead who shouldn’t even be licensed to fight a real fight at this point. If it’s another Tyson-Jones type “fight” (exhibition) well then I don’t know what will happen if it’s basically a worked wrestling match with gloves on. Probably Tyson will hit Jake over the head with the ring bell or maybe Paul will whip out a phone during the “action” and livestream to YouTube from the ring. That will get a lotta likes I’m sure. But if it’s an actual boxing match like we old timers recognize an actual boxing match, then Paul wins easy, probably by decision but don’t rule out Tyson getting tired of getting pounded on and retiring on the stool, fading away to Bolivia again.