Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield are two of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time. They have faced each other twice in the ring, with Holyfield winning both times. Their rivalry is marked by drama, controversy, and violence.
The first fight between Tyson and Holyfield took place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on November 9, 1996. The fight was billed as “Finally”, as it had been postponed several times due to Tyson’s legal and personal issues. Tyson was the WBA champion and the favorite, as he had regained his title and his aura of invincibility after serving three years in prison for rape. Holyfield was the underdog, as he had lost his title to Michael Moorer and had retired briefly due to a heart condition.
The fight was a classic, as Holyfield stunned Tyson with his power, speed, and heart. He outboxed and outworked Tyson, and dropped him in the sixth round with a left hook. Tyson tried to rally, but Holyfield was too strong and too smart. He battered Tyson in the tenth and eleventh rounds, and the referee stopped the fight in the eleventh after Tyson’s corner threw in the towel. Holyfield became the first man to win the heavyweight title three times, and shocked the world with his performance.
The rematch took place at the same venue on June 28, 1997. The fight was billed as “The Sound and the Fury”, as it was expected to be another epic battle. However, the fight turned into a nightmare, as Tyson resorted to one of the most infamous acts in sports history. He bit off a piece of Holyfield’s right ear in the third round, and spat it out on the canvas. The referee deducted two points from Tyson, and allowed the fight to continue. But Tyson bit Holyfield’s other ear in the same round, and the referee disqualified him. The fight ended in chaos, as Tyson tried to attack Holyfield and his corner, and the crowd threw debris and bottles into the ring. Tyson was fined $3 million, had his license revoked, and was banned from boxing for a year. Holyfield retained his title, but his ear was permanently damaged.
Since then, both fighters have had ups and downs in their careers and lives, but their rivalry remains one of the most memorable and notorious in boxing history. They have also reconciled and become friends, and have expressed interest in a trilogy fight for charity. They have also appeared in documentaries, podcasts, and commercials together, and have shown respect and admiration for each other.