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The Real Deal
The Man Who Tamed Tyson
Posted Oct 21, 2010 by Shaun Edwards
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It’s pretty rare (or it was at the time) for a youthful cruiser-weight champion to immediately come out after his first title victory and announce that he was to immediately go after the current world heavyweight champion. It’s even more of an intimidating prospect when you consider that the current world heavyweight champion at the time was Mike Tyson. But then, Evander Holyfield was no ordinary boxer.
The ‘Real Deal’s first two heavyweight fights were won by knockouts in rounds five and seven: the latter coming against Pinklon Thomas, himself a former world heavyweight champion. By the time Holyfield was finally granted a shot at the world heavyweight title, he had been the number one contender for two years, having defeated two more ex world champions.
However, all those hoping and praying for a Tyson-Holyfield match were left amazed as the world champion lost his title in amazing fashion to the journeyman Buster Douglas – a title Holyfield then promptly took from him, finally becoming the best in the world officially: something that, truth be told, he had been considered to be for at least a year.
Holyfield proceeded to keep the belt for three more fights, before losing, then winning back, and then losing the titles in quick succession. However, despite Holyfield’s entertainment factor, there was still one fight that the public were waiting for: Holyfield v Tyson finally took place on 11.09.1996, with Holyfield again reclaiming the WBA Heavyweight Title by defeating his rival.
Whilst the rematch would be scarred by controversy – Tyson’s ‘ear biting’ antics have passed into boxing folklore – Holyfield will probably be best remembered for finally overcoming a man that many considered to be not only at the top of his game, but also one of the hardest hitters of all time. Whilst Tyson’s personality was debatable, he was virtually unmatched in the ring until he came up against the Real Thing.
Whilst that particular fight took place fourteen years ago, the truly remarkable thing is that Holyfield is still boxing: not only that, but he is the current WBF Heavyweight champion. How long he will retain the title is uncertain - he is lining up a potential fight with one of the Klitschko brothers, and will struggle – but he’s always going to remain there in boxing fans minds as the man who tamed Tyson.