Evander Holyfield Profile
|Born||Oct 19, 1962|
|Birthplace||Atmore, Alabama, USA|
|Nickname||"The Real Deal"|
|Division||Cruiserweight Limit: 200 Pounds|
Holyfield remains the only fighter to have unified the cruiserweight division before moving up to become undisputed heavyweight champion.
Evander Holyfield is a retired American boxer who fought from 1984 to 2011. The American had huge success in the latter half of the last century and was part of a 'Golden Age' era during the 1990s in heavyweight boxing.
After turning over in 1984 (following a controversial result at the Los Angeles Olympics), Holyfield quickly blazed a trail through the cruiserweight division.
In April 1988 after knocking out Carlos DeLeon, he became boxing's first undisputed cruiserweight champion. However, Holyfield knew the real fame and riches would lay at heavyweight and it was not long before he was beating the top names in boxing's biggest division.
Six fights into his career as a heavyweight, Holyfield destroyed James "Buster" Douglas to become undisputed champion of the world in 1990. A fight against Mike Tyson looked a certainty at that point but due to "Iron" Mike's legal issues at the time, the pair would not lock horns until 1996 and 1997, which both ended in wins for Holyfield.
Holyfield would go on to box a memorable trilogy with Riddick Bowe while also taking on and defeating high-profile veterans such as George Foreman and Larry Holmes prior to that. In 1999 Holyfield engaged in two huge heavyweight unification fights against Lennox Lewis. At the turn of the century, he would regain and lose the WBA world heavyweight title and tasted defeat to Chris Byrd in 2002 for the IBF version.
Like most great fighters, Holyfield boxed past his peak and finally hung the gloves up in 2011 following his stoppage victory over Brian Nelson in 2011.
A slew of defeats late in his career did little to tarnish his legacy and the Atlanta, Georgia native is regarded among the best modern heavyweights. While considered small in comparison to today's behemoths, Holyfield was a throwback who could do it all.
History will remember him as a humble champion who could box, fight, move and punch. He possessed a great chin and had endless reserves of stamina despite a heart condition that threatened to derail his career at its zenith. Always in shape and ready to fight, Holyfield will be remembered as a true warrior of the sport.
The greatest hits: Tyson, Lewis and Bowe
Holyfield is regarded as the best cruiserweight in history in the eyes of many, but his most memorable fights all occurred at heavyweight. However, nobody who saw his 1986 war with Dwight Muhammad Qawi for the WBA cruiserweight title will ever forget it. He is one of two fighters alongside David Haye to have unified at 200-pounds and won a world title at heavyweight.
Holyfield won the unified heavyweight titles from Douglas in October 1990. It was a memorable night for the new champion, but Douglas came in woefully out of shape at 246-pounds, 15 heavier than his win against Tyson.
Rumour has it he used the phone in the sauna of his hotel suite to place an order for $98 worth of hamburgers just days before the fight. Holyfield stopped him after just seven minutes and 10 seconds of action, and in doing so announced himself as a global superstar.
Evander was rarely in a dull fight and noted for having a chin carved from marble. However, in 1991 he almost came unstuck against Bert Cooper. In a forgotten classic, Cooper stunned Holyfield in round three with a vicious over hand right.
The champion went limp and after shipping another right fell into the ropes. Ref Mills Lane declared it a knockdown (as only the ropes were keeping Holyfield up). It was the first 'knockdown' of his career. To Holyfield's credit, and showing the tenacity and staying power that would define his career, the Olympian regrouped to win by stoppage in round seven.
In Las Vegas, in November 1992 Holyfield defended his WBC, WBA and IBF heavyweight titles against Riddick Bowe. It was the first of three mesmerising encounters - a trilogy for the ages.
Bowe snapped Holyfield's unbeaten record and snared his belts in the first fight. The 10th round, in particular, is still remembered as one of the best rounds in heavyweight boxing history.
Holyfield won their return a year later at Caesar's Palace (the infamous 'Fan Man' fight) via majority decision, but Bowe would have the last laugh in November 1995.
No titles were on the line when they hooked up again at Caesar's Palace, but another mesmerising battle was concluded when Bowe managed to stop Holyfield in the eighth (one of only two stoppage defeats he suffered in his entire career).
In 1999 Holyfield also fought two memorable unification bouts with Lennox Lewis. The first at Madison Square Garden was officially scored a draw but will be best remembered for a shocking card turned in by judge Eugene Williams, who seemed to be the only person in the arena who had scored it 115-113 for Holyfield.
Lewis gained his revenge eight months later in Las Vegas, winning what was ironically a much closer fight than their first encounter via unanimous decision.
Tyson vs Holyfield 1 and the Bite Fight
Tyson and Holyfield were originally set to get it on in June 1990. Those plans were of course scuppered by Douglas who sensationally stopped Tyson in Tokyo in February of the same year.
Going into the first Tyson fight, Holyfield was almost as big an outsider as Douglas had been, with the odds opening with "Iron" Mike as a 1/25 on favourite with the bookmakers.
Going into their November 1996 contest "The Real Deal" had looked unimpressive against Bobby Czyz. Few were expecting him to be able to hang with Tyson, but there was a quiet confidence as Evander slowly made his way to the ring smiling and singing Gospel music.
As the action unfolded Holyfield showed Tyson, he could not intimidate him, manhandling the self-styled "Baddest Man on the Planet" in the clinches and scoring with quick left hooks to the body as Tyson bulled forward.
It ended up becoming a one-sided fight, with Holyfield counter punching brilliantly and essentially bullying the bully. In the 10th, a brutal salvo from Holyfield sent Tyson lurching across the ring, with only the ropes keeping him up.
A round later it was all over, with the ref jumping in to save a now defenceless Tyson who sagged near the ropes. Their return fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas was billed as "The Sound and the Fury" but has since become known as "The Bite Fight".
It followed a similar pattern to their initial fight seven months before, with Holyfield taking control of the centre of the ring and consistently beating Tyson to the punch. Tyson was left furious in round two when a head-butt opened a cut over his eye.
Tyson, feeling he was not being protected by referee Mills Lane, began to lose his composure and came out for the third round without his mouthpiece.
As the action played out Tyson inexplicably chewed off a chunk of Holyfield's right ear and spat it to the canvas. Holyfield danced a crazy jig, wincing in pain as he held his ear with his glove.
The action stopped and almost as unbelievably, the referee failed to disqualify Tyson despite the obvious assault and allowed the fight to continue. However, Tyson was in no mood to apologise and just moments later he bit Holyfield on his left ear.
The damage to this lobe was not as severe but the contest was over. Lane offered an unforgettable quote afterwards when quizzed as to why he stopped it. "How many times do you want him to get bit? One bite is bad enough. Two bites is dessert."
Evander Holyfield's net worth
In the 1990s Holyfield was one of the highest earning sportsmen in the world and at one time enjoyed a net worth in excess of $500million. However, "The Real Deal" has been crippled by bankruptcy in recent years and was forced to sell his legendary Atlanta mansion (all 54,000-square-feet of it) for an estimated $7.5million.
To give an indication of his earning power he was paid $34million for the 'Bite Fight' with Tyson. According to Celebrity Net Worth, he is worth $1million.
Holyfield is the youngest of nine children but he did not meet his father until returning from the 1984 Olympics aged 21. Holyfield cites his mother as a major guiding light throughout his life, and as the person who gave him his infamous work ethic.
"The Real Deal" has been married three times and has 11 different children by nine women. One of his sons, Elijah Esaias Holyfield, is a running back for the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFL. Another of his children, Evette Ashley Holyfield, is a stylist and fashion designer.
As the old saying goes, the apple does not fall far from the tree and Evan Holyfield is an unbeaten junior middleweight who fights out of Houston, Texas.
Amateur career: Class of '84
Having burst onto the scene out of relative obscurity (and after beating Kronk legend Ricky Womack in the qualifiers) Holyfield was part of 'The Class of 84' that went to the Olympics including Pernell Whitaker, Mark Breland, Tyrell Biggs and Meldrick Taylor - a team compared to the 1976 American squad.
While several of his teammates scooped gold at the Los Angeles Summer Games, Holyfield was left broken-hearted. Campaigning in the light-heavyweight class he beat Taju Akay (Ghana) in his first bout.
He then defeated Iraq's Ismail Salman before stopping overmatched Kenyan Sylvanus Okello in just a round. He then boxed New Zealand's Kevin Barry in the semi-final match. Disaster struck when Holyfield was thrown out for supposedly hitting Barry on the break.
It was a perplexing call and while the United States filed a protest, this ultimately came to nothing.
Evander Holyfield News
- Mar 24, 2021