Video: The Real Deal Behind Evander Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson

By Salvador Sanchez

Most commonly remembered for the ‘bite fight’ Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson’s rivalry runs much deeper than just that. Check out the ESPN 30 for 30: Chasing Tyson video….

One of the greatest heavyweight boxing champions of all time, Mike Tyson had the combat sports world mesmerized with his ungodly power in the ring. The late 80’s and early 90’s were all about ‘Iron’ Mike.

His slick defense and punishing punching made for great viewing, and with his impeccable finishing ration, Tyson was a sure fire hit from his early days. In 1986, at aged 20, Tyson became the youngest WBC heavyweight champion ever.

Taking out Trevor Berbick in two rounds saw a fresh faced Tyson shoved in to the boxing limelight, where he would remain until his 2002 knockout loss against Lennox Lewis. There was another great heavyweight of this era who s often underrated by many, and that’s the only man to ever beat Tyson twice, Evander Holyfield.

‘The Real Deal’ and ‘Iron’ Mike shared two fights in 1996/97, the latter of which became infamous for the terrible ending, as Tyson bit off a large chunk of Holyfield’s ear in the third round of their Las Vegas bout.

What many people weren’t aware of is that there was a huge backstory to their rivalry, which dated back to Tyson’s incredible 37 fight/33 knockout unbeaten streak.


Known for his incredible will and also packing some great knockout power himself, Holyfield was nowhere near as revered as Tyson. Before facing Riddick Bowe for the first time in 1992, ‘Real Deal’ had gone unbeaten in 28 with 22 stoppages.

By the time the two eventually met, Tyson had lost his title to Buster Douglas in a hug upset, Holyfield then blasted Douglas for the belt, but it would be nearly five years until they shared the same ring.

Holyfield entered the first fight with Tyson as a 25-1 underdog, having suffered heart problems following the rubber match with Riddick Bowe, which Holyfield lost by a gruelling knockout.

When they finally did, history was made in both fights, and the following film is possibly the best portrayal of Holyfield vs. Tyson there will ever be.

The incredible and somewhat touching review of their famous boxing rivalry is on the next page, in the form of ESPN’s 30 for 30: Chasing Tyson feature film. Enjoy!