Evander Holyfield (born October 19, 1962) is a professional boxer from the United States and a multiple world champion in both the cruiserweight and heavyweight divisions, earning him the nickname "The Real Deal". Holyfield won the bronze medal in the Light Heavyweight division at the 1984 Summer Olympics after a controversial disqualification in the semifinal.
Holyfield is the younger brother of actor and dancer, Bernard Holyfield and currently lives and trains in Fayette County, Georgia with his third wife Candi and their two children; he has eleven children in total.
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.
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's world cruiserweight champion Dwight Muhammad Qawi. In what was called by Ring Magazine 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 by a knockout in seven rounds, 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 four.
1988 was another productive year for Holyfield: He started by becoming the first universally recognized world cruiserweight champion after knocking out the WBC's defending world champion Carlos De León in eight rounds at Las Vegas. O'Neil Bell has since repeated this feat in 2006 with his knockout victory over Jean Marc Mormeck.
Holyfield began 1989 meeting another former world 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. Holyfield by this time had been the Ring Magazine's Number 1 contender for 2 years and had yet to receive a shot a Tyson's heavyweight title.
By this time, in what many consider to be the biggest upset in sports history, relatively unknown boxer, the 29-year old, 231 lb. James Douglas defeated the 23-year old, 218 lb. Mike Tyson in ten rounds in Tokyo to become the new undisputed heavyweight champion. Holyfield had been promised a title shot against Tyson after this fight and he accepted. Instead, he would be Douglas' first title defense. Douglas came into the fight at 246 lbs.
Douglas offered little in the fight against Holyfield, who was in great shape at 208 lbs, with the exception of one right hand over the top of Evander's jab. 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, and who had previously been defeated twice - by Muhammad Ali, by KO in 8 and by Jimmy Young, by a unanimous decision after 15 rounds). 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. It would happen 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 knowkdown, 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 main difference in the fight was that the younger Holyfield could muster the energy to fight for the full three minutes of each round, while the older and more experienced Holmes could not. The fight ended with a unanimous decision in favor of Holyfield.
In the beginning of a trilogy of bouts with the 25-year old Olympic silver medalist Riddick Bowe, 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.
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.
Then, he and Bowe 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 contracting Hepatitis A weakened him in the ring.
However, 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's and the WBA's world 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 decision and joining Muhammad Ali and Lennox Lewis as the only three men ever to become world heavyweight champions three times. He also joined Ali, former rival De Leon, Sugar Ray Robinson and Marvin Johnson among others, in the club of men who have reigned three or more times in the same division, with his victory.
Holyfield's next fight would also go into the annals of boxing as one of the most bizarre fights in history: Holyfield granted Tyson a rematch. Holyfield gave Tyson the rematch on June 28, 1997, in what became known as The Bite Fight. The infamous incident occurred in the third round, when Tyson bit Holyfield on one of his ears, and had two points deducted. The referee decided to disqualify Tyson initially, but after Holyfield and his doctor intervened saying they wanted to continue, 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 spitting 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.
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.
The second time around, in November of that year, Lewis became the undisputed champion by beating Holyfield by a unanimous decision by three American judges. "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."
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 the world's 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 belt.
The IBF decided to strip Lewis of his belt after he didn't want to fight Don King boxer Byrd instead going after Tyson, and declared the winner of the fight between Holyfield and former WBO world heavyweight champion Chris Byrd would be recognized as their world Heavyweight champion. So, on December 14 of '02, Holyfield once again tried to become the first man ever to be world's heavyweight champion five times when he and Byrd met, but Byrd came out as the winner by a unanimous 12 round decision.
In August 2005, the New York Daily News 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.
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 Holyfield 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, 114-113, and 114-113.
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. A factor in the decision to do so was a cut on Maddalone's forehead caused by a headbutt by Holyfield earlier in the fight.
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 World Boxing Organization Heavyweight Title.
On October 13, 2007, Holyfield was defeated by Sultan Ibragimov. Although unable to defy his critics by winning a fifth Heavyweight title, Holyfield refused to be backed up by the young champion and even rattled him in the closing part of the 12th round. The fight was mostly uneventful however, with neither fighter being truly staggered or knocked down. In most exchanges, Sultan was able to land two punches to Holyfield's one. The end result was a unanimous decision for Ibragimov, with scores of 118-110, 117-111, and 117-111.
After the defeat, Holyfield stated that he will not retire, making many fear for his health if he continues to fight.
He told BBC Scotland's Sports Weekly "I'm gonna fight, be the heavyweight champion of the world one more time." "Then I'm gonna write another book and tell everybody how I did it."
In 1998 Holyfield was forced to announce that he believed he had as many as nine children out of wedlock, and his marriage was affected by that announcement.
On September 22, 2007 Holyfield released the Real Deal Grill cooking appliance via TV infomercials. The Real Deal Grill is manufactured by Cirtran Corp.
Holyfield's popularity has led to numerous television appearances for the boxer. His first television show appearance was the Christmas special of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in 1990, playing himself. In 2005, Holyfield came in fifth place on ABC's Dancing with the Stars with his partner Edyta Sliwinska. He also made an appearance on the original BBC Strictly Come Dancing "Champion of Champions" showdown, which featured the final four teams from the 2005 edition of the British series, plus two celebrities from spinoff versions, paired with British professional dancers, one featuring Holyfield paired with Karen Hardy, and Rachel Hunter paired with Brendan Cole. Holyfield also had minor roles in three movies during the 1990s, Summer of Sam, Necessary Roughness, and Blood Salvage (which he also produced).
On August 13, 2007, Holyfield was confirmed to participate in a boxing match at World Wrestling Entertainment's Saturday Night's Main Event against Matt Hardy. He replaced Montel Vontavious Porter, who had to pull out after being diagnosed with a heart condition. The fight ended in a no-contest after MVP entered the ring and Holyfield knocked him out after MVP started verbally abusing him.
In June 2008 a legal notice was placed by Washington Mutual Bank stating that Holyfield's $10million, 54,000 square foot, 109 room, 17 bathroom suburban Atlanta estate would be auctioned off on July 1, 2008 due to foreclosure. Adding to his financial problems, Toi Irvin, mother of his 10 year old son, filed suit for non-payment of two months child support (he pays $3,000 per month for this child). A Utah landscaping firm also has gone to court seeking $550,000 in unpaid debt for services.
Holyfield was again linked to HGH in September 2007, when his name came up following a raid of Signature Pharmacy in Orlando, FL. As of September 2007, Signature Pharmacy is under investigation for illegally supplying several professional athletes with steroids and HGH.
|42 Wins (27 knockouts, 13 decisions, 1 retired, 1 disqualification), 9 losses (2 knockouts, 7 decisions), 2 Draws|
|Loss||Sultan Ibragimov||Decision||12||2007-10-13||Khodynka Arena, Moscow, Russia|
|Win||Lou Savarese||Decision||10||2007-06-30||El Paso, TX|
|Win||Vincent Maddalone||TKO||3 , 2:48||2007-03-17||Corpus Christi, TX|
|Win||Fres Oquendo||Decision||12||2006-11-10||San Antonio, TX|
|Win||Jeremy Bates||TKO||2 , 2:56||2006-08-18||Dallas, TX|
|Loss||Larry Donald||Decision||12||2004-11-13||New York City, NY|
|Loss||James Toney||TKO(Corner Stoppage)||9 , 1:42||2003-10-04||Las Vegas, NV|
|Loss||Chris Byrd||Decision||12||2002-12-14||Atlantic City, NJ|
|Win||Hasim Rahman||Decision||8||2002-06-01||Atlantic City, NJ|
|Draw||John Ruiz||Draw||12||2001-12-15||Mashantucket, CT|
|Loss||John Ruiz||Decision||12||2001-03-03||Las Vegas, NV|
|Win||John Ruiz||Decision||12||2000-08-12||Las Vegas, NV|
|Loss||Lennox Lewis||Decision||12||1999-11-13||Las Vegas, NV|
|Draw||Lennox Lewis||Draw||12||1999-03-13||New York City, NY|
|Win||Vaughn Bean||Decision||12||1998-09-19||Atlanta, GA|
|Win||Michael Moorer||TKO||8 , 3:00||1997-11-08||Las Vegas, NV|
|Win||Mike Tyson||Disqualification||3||1997-06-28||Las Vegas, NV|
|Win||Mike Tyson||TKO||11 , 0:37||1996-11-09||Las Vegas, NV|
|Win||Bobby Czyz||TKO||5||1996-05-10||New York City, NY|
|Loss||Riddick Bowe||TKO||8 , 0:58||1995-11-04||Las Vegas, NV|
|Win||Ray Mercer||Decision||10||1995-05-20||Atlantic City, NJ|
|Loss||Michael Moorer||Decision||12||1994-04-22||Las Vegas, NV|
|Win||Riddick Bowe||Decision||12||1993-11-06||Las Vegas, NV|
|Win||Alex Stewart||Decision||12||1993-06-26||Atlantic City, NJ|
|Loss||Riddick Bowe||Decision||12||1992-12-13||Las Vegas, NV|
|Win||Larry Holmes||Decision||12||1992-06-19||Las Vegas, NV|
|Win||Bert Cooper||TKO||7 , 2:58||1991-11-23||Atlanta, GA|
|Win||George Foreman||Decision||12||1991-04-19||Atlantic City, NJ|
|Win||James Douglas||KO||3 , 1:10||1990-10-25||Las Vegas, NV|
|Win||Seamus McDonagh||TKO||4||1990-06-01||Atlantic City, NJ|
|Win||Alex Stewart||TKO||8||1989-11-04||Atlantic City, NJ|
|Win||Adilson Rodrigues||KO||2 , 1:29||1989-07-15||Stateline, NV|
|Win||Michael Dokes||TKO||10 , 1:41||1989-03-11||Las Vegas, NV|
|Win||Pinklon Thomas||Retired||7 , 3:00||1988-12-09||Atlantic City, NJ|
|Win||James Tillis||TKO||5 , 3:00||1988-07-15||Stateline, NV|
|Win||Carlos De León||TKO||8 , 1:08||1988-04-09||Las Vegas, NV|
|Win||Dwight Muhammad Qawi||KO||4 , 2:30||1987-12-05||Atlantic City, NJ|
|Win||Ossie Ocasio||TKO||11 , 1:24||1987-08-15||Saint-Tropez, France|
|Win||Ricky Parkey||TKO||3 , 2:44||1987-05-15||Las Vegas, NV|
|Win||Henry Tillman||TKO||7 , 1:43||1987-02-14||Reno, NV|
|Win||Mike Brothers||TKO||3||1986-12-08||Paris, France|
|Win||Dwight Muhammad Qawi||Decision||15||1986-07-12||Atlanta, GA|
|Win||Terry Mims||KO||5||1986-05-28||Metairie, LA|
|Win||Jesse Shelby||KO||3||1986-04-06||Corpus Christi, TX|
|Win||Chisanda Mutti||TKO||3 , 1:37||1986-03-01||Lancaster, PA|
|Win||Anthony Davis||TKO||4||1985-12-21||Virginia Beach, VA|
|Win||Jeff Meachem||TKO||5 , 1:02||1985-10-30||Atlantic City, NJ|
|Win||Rick Myers||TKO||1||1985-08-29||Atlanta, GA|
|Win||Tyrone Booze||Decision||8||1985-07-20||Norfolk, VA|
|Win||Mark Rivera||TKO||2 , 2:48||1985-04-20||Corpus Christi, TX|
|Win||Fred Brown||TKO||1 , 1:56||1985-03-13||Norfolk, VA|
|Win||Eric Winbush||Decision||6||1985-01-20||Atlantic City, NJ|
|Win||Lionel Byarm||Decision||6||1984-11-15||New York City, NY|