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Evander Holyfield
Evander Holyfield
Biographical information
Birthname:
Evander Holyfield
Nationality:
American
Nickname:
The Real Deal, The Warrior
Height:
6'3" (1.89 cm)
Reach:
78" (198 cm)
Weight class
Light Heavyweight/Heavyweight
Born:
October 19, 1962
in Atmore, Alabama, United States
Boxing career information
Style/Boxing Stance:
Orthodox
Career record:
57 total bouts, 44 wins, 10 losses, 2 draw, 29 KO's, 2 no contests
Olympic medals won
Bronze, 1984 Olympic Games


Evander Holyfield (born October 19, 1962) is an American professional boxer. He is a former Undisputed World Champion in both the cruiserweight and heavyweight divisions, earning him the nickname "The Real Deal." After winning the bronze medal in the Light Heavyweight division at the 1984 Summer Olympics, he debuted as a professional at the age of 21.

Holyfield moved to the cruiserweight division in 1985 and won his first title the following year, when he defeated Dwight Muhammad Qawi for the WBA Cruiserweight belt. He would then go on to defeat Ricky Parkey and Carlos De Leon to win the Lineal, IBF and WBC titles, becoming the Undisputed Cruiserweight Champion. Holyfield moved up to heavyweight in 1988, defeating Buster Douglas for the The Ring, Lineal, WBC, WBA and IBF titles in 1990.

Evander Holyfield holds other notable victories over fighters such as; George Foreman, Larry Holmes, Riddick Bowe, Ray Mercer, Mike Tyson (x2), Michael Moorer, John Ruiz, Michael Dokes and Hasim Rahman. Holyfield is the only 4-time World Heavyweight Champion, winning the WBA, WBC, and IBF titles in 1990, the WBA and IBF titles in 1993 and the WBA title in 1996 and 2000.

Overview Edit

Holyfield moved up to heavyweight in 1988, winning his first six fights, all by stoppage. On October 25, 1990, Holyfield knocked out Heavyweight Champion James "Buster" Douglas to claim the WBC, WBA, IBF & The Ring Heavyweight titles. He retained the Heavyweight crown three times, which included victories over former champions George Foreman and Larry Holmes, before suffering his first professional loss to Riddick Bowe on November 13, 1992. Holyfield regained the title in a rematch one year later, beating Bowe by majority decision for the WBA and IBF titles. Holyfield later lost the titles to Michael Moorer on April 22, 1994 by majority decision.

Holyfield was forced to retire in 1994, only to return a year later. On November 9, 1996, he went on to defeat Mike Tyson by eleventh round technical knockout to win the WBA title, in what was named fight of the year and upset of the year for 1996 by The Ring magazine. Evander Holyfield became the first Heavyweight since Muhammad Ali to win the World title three times. Seven months later, Holyfield won the 1997 rematch against Tyson, when the latter was disqualified in round three for biting off part of Holyfield's ear. During his reign as champion, he also avenged his loss to Michael Moorer, when he stopped him in eight rounds to win the IBF belt.

In 1999, he faced Lennox Lewis in a split draw, but was defeated in a rematch eight months later. The following year, he won a unanimous decision over John Ruiz for the vacant WBA Heavyweight Championship, becoming the first boxer to win a version of the heavyweight title four times.[1] Holyfield would lose a rematch with Ruiz seven months later and would face him for the third time in a draw.

Holyfield is still an active boxer as of 2012 and has a professional record of 44 wins, 10 losses, 1 draw and 1 no contest. He is ranked #77 on Ring Magazine's list of 100 greatest punchers of all time.[2] Evander Holyfield is ranked as the Greatest Cruiserweight of all time by The Boxing Scene.[3] and is considered one of the greatest Heavyweights of all time by many.

Early life Edit

Evander Holyfield was born on October 19, 1962, in the mill town of Atmore, Alabama. The youngest of nine children, Holyfield and his family moved to Atlanta in the summer of 1964, at the age of two. He began boxing at age 12 and won the Boys Club boxing tournament. At 13, he qualified to compete in his first Junior Olympics. By age 15, Holyfield became the Southeastern Regional Champion, winning this tournament and the Best Boxer Award. By 1984 he had a record of 160 wins and 14 losses, with 76 KO.

Amateur medal record
Olympic Games
Bronze 1984 Los Angeles Light heavyweight
Pan American Games
Silver Caracas 1983 Light heavyweight

When he was 20 years old, Holyfield represented the U.S. in the 1983 Pan American Games in Caracas, Venezuela, where he won a silver medal after losing to Cuban world champion Pablo Romero.

The following year, he was the National Golden Gloves Champion, and won a bronze medal in the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles, California after a controversial disqualification in the second round of the semi-final against New Zealand's Kevin Barry.[4][5][6]

Professional career Edit

Light Heavyweight Edit

Holyfield started out professionally as a light heavyweight with a televised win in six rounds over Lionel Byarm at Madison Square Garden on November 15, 1984. On January 20, 1985 he won another six-round decision over Eric Winbush in Atlantic City, New Jersey. On March 13, he knocked out Fred Brown in the first round in Norfolk, Virginia, and on April 20, he knocked out Mark Rivera in two rounds in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Cruiserweight Edit

Both he and his next opponent, Tyrone Booze, moved up to the cruiserweight division for their fight on July 20, 1985 in Norfolk, Virginia. Holyfield won an eight-round decision over Booze. Evander went on to knock out Rick Myers in the first round on August 29 in Holyfield's hometown of Atlanta. On October 30 in Atlantic City he knocked out opponent Jeff Meachem in five rounds, and his last fight for 1985 was against Anthony Davis on December 21 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He won by knocking out Davis in the fourth round.

He began 1986 with a knockout in three rounds over former world cruiserweight challenger Chisanda Mutti, and proceeded to beat Jessy Shelby and Terry Mims before being given a world title try by the WBA Cruiserweight Champion Dwight Muhammad Qawi. In what was called by The Ring as the best cruiserweight bout of the 1980s, Holyfield became world champion by defeating Qawi by a narrow 15 round split decision. He culminated 1986 with a trip to Paris, France, where he beat Mike Brothers by a knockout in three, in a non-title bout.

In 1987, he defended his title against former Olympic teammate and Gold medal winner Henry Tillman, who had beaten Mike Tyson twice as an amateur. He retained his belt, winning by seventh round knockout, and then went on to unify his WBA belt with the IBF belt held by Ricky Parkey, knocking Parkey out in three rounds. For his next bout, he returned to France, where he retained the title with an eleven round knockout against former world champion Ossie Ocasio. In his last fight of '87, he offered Muhammad Qawi a rematch and, this time, he beat Qawi by a knockout in only four rounds.

1988 was another productive year for Holyfield; he started by becoming the first universally recognized World Cruiserweight Champion after defeating the Lineal & WBC Champion Carlos De León at Las Vegas. The fight was stopped after eight rounds.[7]

Heavyweight Edit

After that fight, he announced he was moving up in weight to pursue the World Heavyweight Championship held by Tyson. His first fight as a Heavyweight took place on July 16, when he beat former Tyson rival James "Quick" Tillis by a knockout in five, in Lake Tahoe, Nevada (Tillis had gone the distance with Tyson). For his third and final bout of '88, he beat former Heavyweight Champion Pinklon Thomas, also by knockout, in seven rounds.

Holyfield began 1989 meeting another former Heavyweight Champion, Michael Dokes. This fight would also be named one of the best fights of the 1980s by Ring magazine, as best heavyweight bout of the 1980s. Holyfield won by a knockout in the tenth round, and then he met Brazilian Champion Adilson Rodrigues, who lasted two rounds. His last fight of the 1980s was against Alex Stewart, a hard punching fringe contender. Stewart shocked Holyfield early, with quick, hard punches, but eventually fell in eight.

In 1990, Holyfield beat Seamus McDonagh, knocking him out in four rounds. By this time, Holyfield had been Ring Magazine's Number 1 contender for two years and had yet to receive a shot at Tyson's Heavyweight title.

Undisputed Heavyweight Champion: 1990–1992 Edit

Holyfield had been promised a title shot against Tyson in 1990. Before that fight could occur, in what many consider to be the biggest upset in boxing history, relatively unknown boxer, 29-year old, 231 lb. Buster Douglas defeated the 23-year old, 218 lb. Mike Tyson in ten rounds in Tokyo to become the new Undisputed Heavyweight Champion. Instead of fighting Tyson, Holyfield would be Douglas' first title defense.

They met on October 25, 1990. Douglas came into the fight at 246 lb. and offered little in the fight against Holyfield, who was in great shape at 208 lb. In the third round Douglas tried to start a combination with a big right uppercut. Holyfield countered with a straight right hand that was lightning quick and Douglas went down for the count. Holyfield was the new undefeated, Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World. At the time of the knockout, Holyfield was ahead on all three judges' scorecards, all seeing it 20–18 for Holyfield.

In his first defense, he beat former and future world champion George Foreman by unanimous decision in 12. The fight was billed as a "Battle for the Ages," a reference to the age differential between the young undefeated champion (28 years old) and the much older George Foreman (42 years old). Holyfield weighed in at 208 pounds and Foreman weighed in at 257 pounds. Foreman lost the fight by a unanimous decision, but surprised many by lasting the whole 12 rounds against a much younger opponent, even staggering Holyfield a few times and knocking him off balance in the seventh round.

Then a deal was signed for him to defend his crown against Mike Tyson in November 1991. Tyson delayed the fight, claiming he was injured in training, but was then convicted for the rape of Desiree Washington and sentenced to six years in prison, so the fight did not happen at that time. They would fight in 1996 (Holyfield won by a TKO in 11) and a rematch in 1997 (Holyfield won by disqualification in 3, after Tyson bit both of his ears).

Holyfield made his next defense in Atlanta against Bert Cooper, who surprised him with a very good effort. Holyfield scored the first knockdown of the fight against Cooper with a powerful shot to the body, but Cooper returned the favor with a good right hand that sent Holyfield against the ropes; while not an actual knockdown, referee Mills Lane gave Holyfield a standing 8-count. Having suffered the first technical knockdown of his professional career, Holyfield regained his composure quickly and administered a beating that left Cooper still on his feet, but unable to defend himself. Holyfield landed brutal power shots, culminated by repeated vicious uppercuts that would snap Cooper's head back. Referee Mills Lane stopped the bout in the seventh.

In his first fight of 1992, he faced former world heavyweight champion Larry Holmes, who was 42 years old, and had just pulled off an upset against Ray Mercer. During the bout, Holyfield suffered the first scar of his career with a gash opening up over his eye, the result of Holmes' elbow. The fight ended with a unanimous decision in favor of Holyfield.

Holyfield-Bowe I & II Edit

In the beginning of a trilogy of bouts with the 25-year old Riddick Bowe, who had won a silver medal in the 1988 Olympics, in the Super Heavyweight division, he suffered his first defeat when Bowe won the undisputed title by a 12-round unanimous decision in Las Vegas. Round ten of that bout was named the Round of the Year by Ring Magazine. Holyfield was knocked down in round 11. He made the mistake of getting into a slugfest with the younger, bigger and stronger Bowe, leading to his defeat.

He began 1993 by beating Alex Stewart in a rematch, but this time over the 12-round unanimous distance.

Then came the rematch with Bowe on November 6, 1993. In what is considered by many sporting historians as one of the most bizarre moments in boxing's history, during round seven the crowd got off their feet and many people started to run for cover and yell. Holyfield took his eyes off Bowe for one moment and then told Bowe to look up to the skies. What they saw was a man in a parachute flying dangerously close to them. The man almost entered the ring, but his parachute had gotten entangled in the lights and he landed on the ropes and apron of the ring, and he was then pulled into the crowd, where he was beaten by members of Bowe's entourage. Bowe's pregnant wife, Judy, fainted and had to be taken to the hospital from the arena. Twenty minutes later, calm was restored and Holyfield went on to recover his world heavyweight titles with a close 12 round majority decision. The man who parachuted down to the middle of the ring became known as The Fan Man and the fight itself became known as the Fan Man Fight. His victory over Bowe that year helped Holyfield being named as ABC's Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year for 1993.

Title loss to Moorer Edit

His next fight, April 1994, he met former WBO Light Heavyweight Michael Moorer, who was attempting to become the first southpaw to become the universally recognised world heavyweight champion. He dropped Moorer in round two, but lost a twelve round majority decision. When he went to the hospital to have his shoulder checked, he was diagnosed with a heart condition and had to announce his retirement from boxing. It would later surface that the chairman of the medical advisory board for the Nevada State Athletic Commission believed his condition to be consistent with HGH use.[8]

However, watching a television show hosted by preacher Benny Hinn, Holyfield says he felt his heart heal. He and Hinn subsequently became friends and he became a frequent visitor to Hinn's crusades. In fact, during this time, Holyfield went to a Benny Hinn crusade in Philadelphia, had Hinn lay hands on him and gave Hinn a check for $265,000 after he was told he was healed. He then passed his next examination by the boxing commission. Holyfield would later state that his heart was misdiagnosed due to the morphine pumped into his body.

In 1995, Holyfield returned to the ring with a ten-round decision win versus former Olympic gold medalist, Ray Mercer. He was the first man to knock down Mercer.

Holyfield and Bowe then had their rubber match. Holyfield knocked Bowe down with a single left hook but Bowe prevailed by a knockout in eight. Holyfield would later claim that he contracted hepatitis before the fight.[9]

Holyfield-Tyson fights Edit

Holyfield vs. Tyson I Edit

Main article: Tyson-Holyfield I
File:Holyfield-Tyson II poster.jpg

1996 was a very good year for Holyfield. First, he met former world champion Bobby Czyz, beating him by a knockout in six. Then, he and Mike Tyson finally met.

Tyson had recovered the WBC and WBA Heavyweight Championship and, after being stripped of the WBC title for not facing Lennox Lewis, defended the WBA title against Holyfield on November 9 of that year. Tyson was heavily favored to win, but Holyfield made history by defeating Tyson in an 11th round TKO. This was the third occasion on which Holyfield won the WBA Heavyweight title. However, the fight was not recognized as being for the Linear Heavyweight Championship, which was held by George Foreman at the time.[10]

Holyfield vs. Tyson II Edit

Holyfield's rematch with Tyson took place on June 28, 1997. The infamous incident occurred in the third round, when Tyson bit Holyfield on one of his ears and had two points deducted. Referee Mills Lane decided to disqualify Tyson initially, but after Holyfield and the ringside doctor intervened and said Holyfield could continue, he relented and allowed the fight to go on. However, Tyson went on to bite Holyfield again, this time on the other ear. Tyson, with his teeth, tore off the top of his ear, known as the helix, and spit the flesh out on the ring.

The immediate aftermath of the incident was greeted by instant bedlam. Tyson was disqualified and a melee ensued. Tyson claimed his bites were a retaliation to Holyfield's unchecked headbutts, which had cut him in both fights. Others argued that Tyson, knowing he was on his way to another knockout loss, was looking for a way out of the fight. His former trainer, Teddy Atlas, had predicted that Tyson would get himself disqualified, calling Tyson "a very weak and flawed person."[11]

Avenging the Moorer defeat Edit

Next came another rematch, this time against Michael Moorer, who had recovered the IBF's world title. Holyfield knocked Moorer to the canvas five times and referee Mitch Halpern stopped the fight between the eighth and ninth rounds under the advice of physician Flip Homansky. Holyfield once again unified his WBA belt with the IBF belt by avenging his defeat to Moorer.

In 1998 Holyfield had only one fight, making a mandatory defense against Vaughn Bean, who was defeated by decision at the Georgia Dome in the champion's hometown. For the first time, Holyfield's performance called into question whether age was diminishing his ability to continue as a championship fighter.[12]

Holyfield-Lewis fights Edit

Holyfield vs. Lewis I Edit

By 1999, the public was clamoring for a unification bout versus the WBC World Champion, Lennox Lewis of the United Kingdom. That bout happened in March of that year. The bout was declared a controversial draw after twelve rounds, where it appeared to most that Lewis dominated the fight.[13] Holyfield claimed his performance was hindered by stomach and leg cramps.[14] Holyfield and Lewis were ordered by the three leading organizations of which they were champions to have an immediate rematch.

Holyfield vs. Lewis II Edit

The second time around, in November of that year, Lewis became the Undisputed Champion by beating Holyfield via unanimous decision by three American judges. Holyfield said "I haven't felt this good after a fight since I was a cruiserweight," Holyfield said. "It makes me think I should have fought a little harder against Lennox. Maybe I'd be sore and sick, but I'd have the victory."[15]

Trilogy with John Ruiz Edit

In 2000, Lewis was stripped of the WBA belt for failing to meet lightly regarded Don King fighter John Ruiz, having fought Ruiz's conqueror David Tua, and the WBA ordered Holyfield and Ruiz to meet for that organization's world title belt. Holyfield and Ruiz began their trilogy in August of that year, with Holyfield making history by winning on a controversial, but unanimous 12 round decision to become the first boxer in history to be the World Heavyweight Champion four times. Holyfield blamed his lackluster performance on a perforated (broken) eardrum.[16]

Seven months later, in March 2001, it was Ruiz's turn to make history at Holyfield's expense when he surprisingly managed to knock Holyfield down and beat him by a 12 round decision to become the first Hispanic ever to win a Heavyweight title. On December 15 of that year, Holyfield challenged Ruiz for the title, in an attempt to become champion again. The fight was declared a draw and John Ruiz maintained the WBA Championship title.

Holyfield vs. Byrd Edit

2002 began as a promising year for Holyfield: in June, he met former World Heavyweight Champion Hasim Rahman, to determine who would face Lewis next. Holyfield was leading on two of the three scorecards when the fight was stopped in the eighth round due to a severe hematoma on Rahman's forehead above his left eye that was caused by a headbutt earlier in the fight. Holyfield was ahead, so he was declared the winner by a technical decision.

The IBF decided to strip Lewis of his belt after he didn't want to fight Don King-promoted fighter Chris Byrd, instead going after Tyson, and declared that the winner of the fight between Holyfield and former WBO Heavyweight Champion Byrd would be recognized as their Heavyweight Champion. So, on December 14, 2002, Holyfield once again tried to become the first man ever to be Heavyweight Champion five times when he and Byrd met, but Byrd came out as the winner by a 12-round unanimous decision.

Consecutive losses & New York suspension Edit

On October 4, 2003, Holyfield lost to James Toney by TKO when his corner threw in the towel in the ninth round. At age 42, Holyfield returned to the ring to face Larry Donald on November 13, 2004. He lost his third consecutive match in a twelve round unanimous decision.

In August 2005 it had been reported that the New York State Athletic Commission had banned Evander Holyfield from boxing in New York due to "diminishing skills" despite the fact that Holyfield had passed a battery of medical tests.

Comeback Edit

Holyfield was initially criticized for his ongoing comeback; but he is adamant that his losses to Toney and Donald were the result of a shoulder injury, not of old age. Holyfield had looked better in his first four fights since Donald and appeared to have answered the critics who say that he lacks the cutting edge and ability to follow up on crucial openings that he had in his youth.

Holyfield defeated Jeremy Bates by TKO on August 18, 2006 in a 10 round bout at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. Holyfield dominated the fight which was stopped in the second round after he landed roughly twenty consecutive punches on Bates.

Holyfield defeated Fres Oquendo by unanimous decision on November 10, 2006 in San Antonio, Texas. Holyfield knocked Oquendo down in the first minute of the first round and continued to be the aggressor throughout the fight, winning a unanimous decision by scores of 116–111 and 114–113 twice.

On March 17, 2007, Holyfield defeated Vinny Maddalone by TKO when Maddalone's corner threw in the towel to save their man from serious injury in the ring.

On June 30, 2007, Holyfield defeated Lou Savarese, knocking the bigger and heavier Savarese down in the fourth and again in the ninth round, en route to a unanimous decision win. This was Holyfield's fourth win in ten months, two of them by KO. This victory finally set the stage for Holyfield's title fight against Sultan Ibragimov, for the WBO Heavyweight title.

ReferencesEdit

  1. "Evander Holyfield vows to be king of the world again at 47". Daily Mail (London). 2010-04-11. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/othersports/article-1265232/BOXING-Evander-Holyfield-vows-king-world-47.html.
  2. Eisele, Andrew (2003). "Ring Magazine's 100 Greatest Punchers". About.com. http://boxing.about.com/od/history/a/ring_punchers.htm. Retrieved 2010-03-10.
  3. Cliff Rold The 20 greatest cruiserweights of all time. boxingscene.com. Retrieved 19 July 2011.
  4. "Holyfield Disqualified for Punch". Philadelphia Inquirer. August 10, 1984.
  5. "Calm Amid Controversy and Dignified in Victory". Philadelphia Inquirer. August 9, 1985.
  6. Putnam, Pat (July 21, 1986). "Meeting the Gold Standard". Sports Illustrated. http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1065047/index.htm.
  7. "Evander Holyfield, king of the cruiserweights, bravely – 04.18.88 – SI Vault". CNN. 1988-04-18. http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1067221/index.htm. Retrieved 2009-04-27.
  8. "SI: Holyfield allegedly received steroids, HGH via alias". CNN. 2007-02-28. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/more/02/28/holyfield/index.html. Retrieved 2010-05-02.
  9. Trilogies filled with triumphs, tragedies – boxing – ESPN. Sports.espn.go.com (2005-09-29). Retrieved on 2011-10-03.
  10. The Heavyweight Championship Path Of Lineage. Iain.hampson.btinternet.co.uk. Retrieved on 2011-10-03.
  11. "Atlas Shrugged, He Knows What's Eating Tyson", Michael Katz, New Daily News, 30 June 1997
  12. Wise, Mike (1998-09-21). "Bean Dents Holyfield's Armor". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C06E2D71330F932A1575AC0A96E958260. Retrieved 2008-05-13.
  13. "Rafael's 'lock' list of boxers bound for Canastota". ESPN. 2006-06-07. http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/boxing/columns/story?columnist=rafael_dan&id=2473382. Retrieved 2012-03-25.
  14. "Lennox Lewis vows to take matters into his own hands". CNN. 1999-11-13. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/more/boxing/1999/lewis_holyfield/news/1999/11/12/fight_preview_ap/index.html. Retrieved 2010-05-02.
  15. "Holyfield at peace after loss to Lewis". Canoe. 1999-11-15'. http://www.canoe.ca/SlamHolyfieldLewis/nov15_hol.html. Retrieved 2008-03-02.
  16. Las Vegas Review-Journal: Sports. Reviewjournal.com (2001-03-01). Retrieved on 2011-10-03.

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