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Roy Jones Jr pays tribute to Kobe Bryant during Mike Tyson exhibition fight in Los Angeles

·1-min read
<p>Roy Jones Jr wore special gloves in tribute to Kobe Bryant against Mike Tyson</p> (Getty Images for Triller)

Roy Jones Jr wore special gloves in tribute to Kobe Bryant against Mike Tyson

(Getty Images for Triller)

Roy Jones Jr paid tribute to the late Kobe Bryant during his return to the ring against Mike Tyson on Saturday night.

Fighting for the first time since finally ending an illustrious 29-year, 75-bout career - one that brought him world titles in four different weight classes - in 2018, the 51-year-old Jones Jr battled his fellow boxing legend in a high-profile, eight-round exhibition contest.

The fight proved better than anticipated, with Jones Jr perhaps fortunate to claim a draw as both men hinted at a rematch in future.

Saturday’s event - which also featured wins for YouTube star Jake Paul over former NBA player Nate Robinson and for ex-two-weight world champion Badou Jack - took place at Staples Center - home of multiple sports teams including the Los Angeles Lakers.

Fighting in the arena where Bryant played most of his 20-year NBA career, Jones Jr paid tribute to the basketball icon who tragically died along with 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California in January.

He sported gloves in Lakers purple and gold that were adorned with pictures of Bryant and the latter’s old jersey numbers - 8 and 24 - on each hand as well as wearing a purple and gold robe to the ring.

“My contribution to Kobe Bryant,” Jones Jr said while presenting his gloves in his post-fight interview.

"Yes sir (in his building). I had to give a tribute to Kobe because he was my latest greatest.

“Michael Jordan will always be my no1 favourite, but Kobe and [Allen] Iverson are right next second and third, and LeBron [James].”