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Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield I"Finally"The Ring Fight of the Year and Upset of the Year (1996)
November 9, 1996

Above: Evander Holyfield walks to a neutral corner after knocking Mike Tyson down.

Evander Holyfield was a bum - at least, that’s what Don King concluded. With Holyfield having been outpointed by Michael Moorer and knocked out by Riddick Bowe in their third meeting, then retiring and returning to the squared circle, it’s easy to see how King could reach that conclusion. Predicting that Tyson would crush Holyfield, bolstering Tyson’s already-impressive resume and earning a handy sum in gate and pay-per-view money, King signed the two to fight.
The bout was billed, not inaccurately, as “Finally”. The two had been planned to meet in 1992, after Douglas beat Tyson and Holyfield beat Douglas, so Tyson could reclaim his lost titles. But when Tyson was convicted for the rape of Desiree Washington early that year, those plans were severed, sending the two fighters on separate but in many ways parallel quests for the heavyweight championship. Now, at long last, the two were to fulfill their long-postponed agreement. Holyfield wasn’t the same fighter that he was back then - Don King was banking on it - but, as the world was about to find out, neither was Tyson.
The fight was a fierce one. Tyson characteristically stormed Holyfield while Holyfield boxed from the outside and clinched before Tyson could bring his guns to bear. It became apparent early on that Holyfield was physically much stronger than Tyson - strong enough to keep him in the clinch or push him away. Holyfield was able to avoid most of Tyson’s punches and seemed unfazed by those that Mike did land. Tyson was caught off-balance and downed in the sixth by a body hook. Repeated headbutts (judged unintentional by referee Mitch Halpern) opened cuts that compromised Tyson’s depth perception. What was supposed to be an easy fight had become a real problem. 
In the tenth round, Holyfield struck Tyson hard and hurt him badly. Smelling blood, Holyfield followed his mark to the ropes and unloaded. By the end of the round, Tyson was clearly unfit to fight, but his corner allowed him to come out for the eleventh. When the bell rang, Holyfield trapped Tyson against the ropes and continued his tenth-round barrage. Halpern stepped in, stopping the fight. It was an eleventh-round TKO victory for Holyfield, now only the second man in history to regain the heavyweight championship a second time.

Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield I
"Finally"
The Ring Fight of the Year and Upset of the Year (1996)

November 9, 1996

Above: Evander Holyfield walks to a neutral corner after knocking Mike Tyson down.

Evander Holyfield was a bum - at least, that’s what Don King concluded. With Holyfield having been outpointed by Michael Moorer and knocked out by Riddick Bowe in their third meeting, then retiring and returning to the squared circle, it’s easy to see how King could reach that conclusion. Predicting that Tyson would crush Holyfield, bolstering Tyson’s already-impressive resume and earning a handy sum in gate and pay-per-view money, King signed the two to fight.

The bout was billed, not inaccurately, as “Finally”. The two had been planned to meet in 1992, after Douglas beat Tyson and Holyfield beat Douglas, so Tyson could reclaim his lost titles. But when Tyson was convicted for the rape of Desiree Washington early that year, those plans were severed, sending the two fighters on separate but in many ways parallel quests for the heavyweight championship. Now, at long last, the two were to fulfill their long-postponed agreement. Holyfield wasn’t the same fighter that he was back then - Don King was banking on it - but, as the world was about to find out, neither was Tyson.

The fight was a fierce one. Tyson characteristically stormed Holyfield while Holyfield boxed from the outside and clinched before Tyson could bring his guns to bear. It became apparent early on that Holyfield was physically much stronger than Tyson - strong enough to keep him in the clinch or push him away. Holyfield was able to avoid most of Tyson’s punches and seemed unfazed by those that Mike did land. Tyson was caught off-balance and downed in the sixth by a body hook. Repeated headbutts (judged unintentional by referee Mitch Halpern) opened cuts that compromised Tyson’s depth perception. What was supposed to be an easy fight had become a real problem. 

In the tenth round, Holyfield struck Tyson hard and hurt him badly. Smelling blood, Holyfield followed his mark to the ropes and unloaded. By the end of the round, Tyson was clearly unfit to fight, but his corner allowed him to come out for the eleventh. When the bell rang, Holyfield trapped Tyson against the ropes and continued his tenth-round barrage. Halpern stepped in, stopping the fight. It was an eleventh-round TKO victory for Holyfield, now only the second man in history to regain the heavyweight championship a second time.

Tags: boxing Evander Holyfield Mike Tyson November 9 1996 martial arts sports sports history
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