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 were intent on finding blood; this is what brought condemnation on 'Buster' Douglas.

"He didn't try to get up," said the man closest to him during the count. "I'm not saying he could have gotten up but he didn't try. His eyes looked good to me. You're born with a ticker, they can't give you one."

"I just got caught with a good shot," explained Douglas. "By the time I picked up the count, it was over. I'm not embarrassed. You live by the sword and you die by the sword. I wanted to fight the best, and that's why I wanted to fight Evander."

The punch that sent Douglas crashing

Douglas received $24,074,000, the largest purse ever at the time, whilst the new champion pocketed $8,025,000. Wynn was most upset by Douglas' performance and suggested that future bouts should be winner-take-all, so boxers would have more incentive to win.

Douglas retired after the fight and his weight went up to 400 pounds (181.44 KG) with his blood sugar level going up to 800 he fell into a diabetic coma. When he got out of hospital he returned to the gym to lose weight and ended up returning to the ring on 22nd June 1996. He won six in a row before getting stopped in the first round agains Lou Savarese in June 1998. He returned six months later with a first round knockout victory. He retired winning by first round TKO on 19th February 1999. His resume stands at 38 -6-1 (25 KO's) and will always be remembered as the one to finish Tyson's unbeaten record.

19th April 1991, Convention Center, Atlantic City, New Jersey

Undisputed Heavyweight Title

Evander Holyfield Vs George Foreman

The three governing bodies decreed that the winner of the Douglas-Holyfield encounter must make their next defence against the undisputed number one contender, Mike Tyson. The WBA and IBF backed off the notion shortly after Holyfield's victory, but the WBC did not and threatened to strip him of their belt.

Holyfield nails Foreman with a left

The new champion took them to court, with the judge ruling that Holyfield couldn't have the green belt taken from him. This paved the way for 'The Battle of the Ages' against George Foreman.

Big George was born on 10th January1949 in Marshall, Texas. He started boxing in 1966 whist in the Jobs Corps. In 1968 he won gold at the Mexico Olympic Games, beating Russia's Ionis Chepulis in the final. He turned pro on 23rd June 1969, winning by third round TKO against Don Weldham.½

In his fourth contest he stopped Chuck Wepner in the third round a and picked up the vacant NABF heavyweight title, stopping the experienced Gregorio Peralta in the 10th round.

By the time he challenged Joe Frazier for the heavyweight title he had amassed an unbeaten record of 37-0 (34 KO's). The contest took place at the National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica on 22nd January 1973.

Champion Frazier was also unbeaten in twenty-nine contests with twenty-five kayos. He won the vacant NYSAC heavyweight title with a seventh round retirement of Buster Mathis. He made four defences and fought WBA heavyweight champion Jimmy Ellis. The vacant WBC belt was also up for grabs and Frazier became undisputed champion with a fourth round retirement.

He knocked out the WBA & WBC light-heavyweight champion Bob Foster in round two, then outpointedd Muhammad Ali over fifteen rounds, giving 'The Greatest' his first defeat.

Frazier knocked out his next two challengers before facing Foreman. The champion was a 3½-1 favourite in Las Vegas to keep his crown. Foreman had other ideas and put Frazier down three times in the opening round. Three more knickdowns in the next round saw him become the new heavyweight champion of the world.

Foreman made his maiden defence against Jose Roman in September 1973, blasting out his challnger in the first round. He then knockedout Ken Norton in two rounds six months later.

He lost the championship to Muhammad Ali on 30th October 1974 in the famous 'Rumble in the Jungle,' where Ali employed the rope-a-dope tactics. Ali stopped the punched-out champion in round eight to regain the crown.

Foreman came back in January 1976 and won the vacant NABF title in an up and downer against Ron Lyle. He defended that belt against Joe Frazier, knocking out his rival in the fifth round. He won three more contests before losing to Jimmy Young on a twelve round unanimous decision on 17th March 197