The Rules for the Jake Paul vs. Mike Tyson Fight Explained: A Pro Heavyweight Bout With 14oz Gloves?

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Jake Paul gestures to the crowd during weigh-ins for his fight against Nate Diaz. Sam Hodde/Getty Images/AFP

On March 20, 2024, the boxing community was left in shock and awe as a heavyweight bout between pugilist legend Mike Tyson and social media influencer Jake Paul was announced. The location, AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, the date, July 20th, and the streaming service host, Netflix, were all announced for the bout, but speculation grew surrounding the fight’s official rules.

Contrary to previous beliefs, the rules for Tyson vs. Paul have since been slated as a professional heavyweight contest per ESPN and Most Valuable Promotions. However, let’s take a closer look at a few outliers that have placed some doubt around the legitimacy of this “pro” contest, as we prepare to place our bets on it at the top sportsbooks.

Tyson vs. Paul: A Sanctioned Professional Fight

The most talked about fight of the summer will occur over eight two-minute rounds, and both fighters will strap on 14-ounce gloves. During Tyson’s professional career and heavyweight title-defending tenure, he wore 10-ounce gloves when sending the opposition into unconsciousness, and it’s believed that the larger, more padded 14oz versions will protect both men ahead of this contest.

In addition, the fight has been announced as a fully sanctioned pro contest. The result will be reflected on both men’s records – something that wouldn’t have reigned true if they fought in an exhibition bout that was initially expected.

Tyson vs. Paul Rules:

  • The bout is scheduled for eight two-minute rounds.
  • 14oz gloves will be worn.
  • The result will be added to the participant’s official pro records.
  • Knockouts are allowed.

Considering the 31-year age gap between Paul and Tyson, some were surprised that hear gear wasn’t implemented as a rule and that the Texas Commission is allowing a 58-year-old man to fight in a legitimate pro bout. The heavyweight legend hasn’t fought since 2020 versus Roy Jones Junior. However, Jones was of a similar age and said the bout was contested under exhibition rules, unlike his fight with Paul that will become his 59th official pro bout.

On the flipside, the New York native is lightyears ahead of Paul in terms of experience, as the social media star and former Disney Channel actor has competed in just ten fights to date. That said, Tyson will need to pass a medical with flying colors on fight week, and one bad result on those tests in Texas could cancel the event entirely.

The Legitimacy of Tyson vs. Paul as a “Pro” Bout

Let’s make no mistake about it: despite Paul and Tyson’s announcement being reflected on their pro records, the rules surrounding this fight don’t represent those of a pro bout.

One user on social media said: “In what world is eight two-minute rounds and 14oz gloves pro?” Another commented: “How’s it a pro fight when the rounds last 2 minutes?

I think it’s safe to say that the promotional aspect of selling a fight holds significantly more marketing value when Paul and Tyson can promote it as a professional contest. Technically, it isn’t an exhibition, but it isn’t a professional contest, either.

Controversial Rules

British heavyweight professional Derek Chisora is one of several pro boxers who’ve shared their thoughts. He labeled the bout a “fu***** joke” in reference to the heavier gloves.

It’s no secret that boxers use 14oz gloves to spar, with the intention of avoiding injury. The heavier gloves are significantly more padded, thus removing a lot of power and impact from the shots thrown.

Combining the 14oz glove factor with the shorter rounds is undoubtedly a ploy to protect Paul’s inexperience and the health concerns of a man in Tyson who’s two years short of 60. However, the casual viewer, who’ll make up most of the viewership for this Netflix clash, won’t care, and most of us also understand that these implemented rules are probably for the best.

Despite the legitimacy of Tyson and Paul being a professional contest, do any of us actually care? It’s a huge draw for boxing, and ultimately, as a collective of combat sports fans, we should have some fun with it and enjoy the hostilities come fight night.