The Real Deal Part Three: Credit In Defeat

Updated: Aug 6, 2019

Evander Holyfield

The only undisputed cruiserweight &  undisputed heavyweight champion

25th October 1990, The Mirage Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada

Undisputed Heavyweight Title

James 'Buster' Douglas Vs Evander Holyfield

Douglas Vs Holyfield

In Tokyo on 11th February 1990 the undisputed number one heavyweight contender watched the 42-1 outsider James 'Buster' Douglas knockout 'Iron' Mike Tyson in ten rounds to become the new undisputed champion of the world. Evander Holyfield's dream match in June against Tyson was now wishful thinking thanks to 'Buster's' right uppercut.

Douglas then became embroiled in a long legal battle with Don King over a contract dispute. Douglas claimed that King breached their contract when he tried to get the Tyson victory overturned. They settled out of court, with King having the rights to stage a Douglas-Tyson rematch, but first the new champion had to face his mandatory contender.

The Mirage Casino in Las Vegas won the bid to promote the fight. They paid $32.1 million, beating Main Events (Holyfield's promotors) bid of $29,101,000. Steve Wynn, the Mirage's owner cut out the middle man by promoting the fight himself. "Fighters see the wisdom of not needing to pay someone like (Bob) Arum $3 million when they can talk to me themselves," Wynn said. "If we have a hot fight, people will buy it on pay-per-view. No hyping by King or Arum will change that."

Douglas had ballooned in weight since February and started training camp as a hefty figure. Steve Wynn was concerned about the champion's weight and offered him private use of a hotel sauna. Apparently, from the sauna Douglas ordered $98 of food from room service, which Wynn wasn't very happy about when he found out. His official weight was 246 pounds (111.58 KG) compared to the 231.5 pounds (105.01 KG) he weighed against Tyson.

Douglas not in top condition

Holyfield, always in top condition, scaled in at 208 pounds (94.35 KG). Douglas also towered over his top contender, but this didn't stop him from being out jabbed by the smaller man. Holyfield was too quick and fired in double and triple jabs, following in with right crosses. A left hook had Douglas faltering at the end of the first round.

Holyfield gained in confidence as the champion gave away ground continuously. Holyfield started the third targeting the champion's ample body. Douglas threw a big right uppercut, but Holyfield swayed back out of harms way and landed with a right counter to the jaw.

As Douglas fell, Holyfield's follow up left whistled over the champion's head, causing their heads to clash. Douglas hit the canvas on his left side, propping himself up with his left arm. Unlike against Tyson, Douglas had no intention of getting up and rolled onto his back. He stared at the ring lights as referee Mills Lane counted over him. He rubbed his gloves over his eyes searching for signs of blood, where Holyfield's head cracked into his. Douglas' eyes were clear and they w