Celebrating Black History Month: Evander Holyfield

From the time he won bronze in the 1984 Olympics, Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield was poised to become one of the dominant figures in boxing for nearly two decades.

Evander Holyfield fights Mike Tyson in their first match on November 9, 1996.

Evander Holyfield fights Mike Tyson in their first match on November 9, 1996.

Holyfield climbed to the top of the 200-pound division early in his career, becoming the undisputed world champion, but it was as a heavyweight that he carved out his legacy.

After Buster Douglas scored the upset of the decade against Mike Tyson in Tokyo, Holyfield quickly dispatched the newly minted champ with a third-round knockout on October 25, 1990, to become the undisputed heavyweight champion.

Holyfield went on to beat both George Foreman and Larry Holmes in two of his next three title defenses, setting the stage for the first of three fights against Riddick Bowe.

After losing the first meeting, Holyfield defeated Bowe in the rematch in one of his two signature fights—both more memorable for their antics than the fights themselves.

Seven rounds into the bout at Caesars Palace, James Miller crashed a paraglider into the ring with his parachute tangled in the lights.

Holyfield finally got a long-awaited match against Mike Tyson on September 11, 1996, winning by a technical knockout in the 11th round.

The rematch the following June went down as Holyfield's other bizarre brawl, dubbed "The Bite Fight,” when Tyson first took a chunk out of Holyfield’s right ear, and then was disqualified after biting his left ear.

Holyfield continued to fight the top heavyweights of his era, facing Lennox Lewis twice, John Ruiz three times, Michael Moorer, James Toney, Chris Byrd and Hasim Rahman, eventually becoming a four-time world heavyweight champion—the only man to do so.

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