Anthony Pettis calls pay for Roy Jones Jr. boxing bout ‘awesome,’ expects to fight on PFL PPV later this year


Anthony Pettis wants to have it all in 2023.

The former UFC lightweight champion is scheduled to fight boxing legend Roy Jones Jr. at Jorge Masvidal’s Gamebred Boxing 4 on April 1 in his hometown of Milwaukee and if all goes according to plan, he’ll return to the PFL later this year to compete on an upcoming pay-per-view card.

Pettis was on The MMA Hour Wednesday to discuss the unusual situation.

“An opportunity like that pops up once in a lifetime,” Pettis said. I was actually getting ready to go for the PFL at 170 lbs, when this opportunity presented itself and it really changed my entire year. Jorge has been boxing for a while and has not done any cards of this calibre yet.

“Dean Toole is a partner in Jorge’s venture. He’s been reaching back and just sending out feelers, and I at that time thought he was playing around. “I am open to doing whatever.” If you can get some names, I’m ready to box.’ I’ve been boxing with Jorge Capetillo for the last two years out here in Vegas and [Toole] started bringing my names my way. These are some very big names, and it’s hard to get them to accept this. Roy Jones Jr. was called up and he had his bout contract in hand. It’s amazing to see how this came together in my hometown and that fighters have options now. The fight world .”

has a lot to offer.

According to Pettis, several other notable names were discussed, including two-time UFC opponent Donald Cerrone, Paul Daley, Mike Perry, and another boxing legend, Felix Trinidad. Pettis was celebrating his birthday in Cabo San Luca, Mexico, when the contract to fight Jones was sent his way and he couldn’t believe it.

Making the situation even sweeter is that Pettis’ pay surpasses the lucrative deal he’s had with the PFL for the past two seasons.

” “It’s incredible,” Pettis stated. I was shocked to see the check. This made it difficult for me to sign my PFL contract. We know that my PFL contract is excellent. It was a great amount of money. Enough for me to go fight Roy Jones Jr. in my professional debut as a boxer.”

Pettis enters his 16th season of professional fighting. The 36-year-old booked his first MMA fight in 2007, becoming a champion in the WEC and the UFC before parting ways with the UFC in 2020. He has won only one fight in his SmartCage PFL career.

Despite those struggles, Pettis planned to make another run at a league tournament title and a $1 million prize, but when the offer to fight Jones came long it made more sense for him to opt for the pay-per-view format that the league is continuing this year after holding its first this past November.

“I am with the PFL,” Pettis said. “I’ll be fighting on their pay-per-view format. This year, I won’t be doing the season format. The last two years, the season format is rough. It’s a really hard format for somebody like myself. You’ve got to be in the trenches. It’s kind of like The Ultimate Fighter. It’s very difficult. You have to lose weight about every 5 weeks.

“I met with the team, they presented a couple of options to me and initially I was going to do a tournament at 170 and then this fight came about and just changed the rest of the year.”

Pettis confirmed also that he won’t be fighting with a lighter weight than 170 pound going forward. For his match with Jones, a four-division champion in boxing, he expects to weigh in around 198 pounds.

Though Pettis’s never been close to that weight, he is excited about the future of extreme weight reductions.

“Obviously, I’m training at a higher weight class now, I feel good at this weight class, I feel healthy not depleting myself,” Pettis said. “This is my first time doing a full training camp without having to do that big-ass weight cut. Even at ’70 I was cutting weight to get down to 170 pounds. This is my first attempt at this, and I am going against one the best of all-time. It makes me excited to wake up and train, it makes me excited to go to the gym and put this together.”

At 36, Pettis is 18 years younger than the 54-year-old Jones, but that age gap isn’t making Pettis take this marquee matchup lightly. Jones’ last pro fight took place in 2018 — a unanimous decision win over Scott Sigmon — and he later fought Mike Tyson in an exhibition bout in 2020.

Pettis believes Jones’ expertise and youth are in good karma with his athleticism and youthfulness.

“He’s dangerous,” Pettis said. “Especially with how much knowledge he has in boxing. It’s eight rounds, it’s something I’ve never done before. He agreed to fight.

“I’m 36, I’m just coming out of my prime in mixed martial arts, so it’s a dangerous fight for him to agree to, but I’m a 170-pounder. He has a lot to offer, and I have to do my best for it. This is a real fight for me, and I plan on trying to win this fight.”