Updated: Aug 6, 2019
After his first defeat to Riddick Bowe, Evander Holyfield contemplated retirement saying “I don’t want to box for a very long time.” He did, however return to the ring on 26th June 1993 against Alex Stewart.
Holyfield struggled with Stewart the last time they met, but under new trainer Emauel Steward, Holyfield tipped the scales at his heaviest ever. The contest wasn't as exciting as their previous meeting and Holyfield won the bout by scores of 119-109 and two cards of 118-110.
Alex Stewart won his next seven contests in a three year period. He was stopped in the eighth round by Craig Petersen in November 1996. His career petered out losing to Oleg Maskaev, Phil Jackson and Lance Whitaker. His final bout took place in June 1999 where he was stopped in the second round by the Cuban Jorge Luis Gonzalez, leaving the sport with a 43-10 (40 KO's) resume. Stewart died on 16th November 2016, aged fifty-two.
The victory set up a rematch with Bowe, who only held the WBA and IBF titles as he threw the WBC belt in the bin, rather than defend it against top contender Lennox Lewis. Bowe was making defence number three after blowing away Michael Dokes and Jesse Ferguson and was favourite to do the same with Holyfield.
The challenger came in at a career high of 217 pounds (98.43 kg), whilst Bowe scaled in at a huge 246 pounds (111.58 kg). The champion's odds dropped from 5-1 to 2.5-1 after the weigh in.
Bowe started fast and nailed the challenger with his right. The champion took the centre of the ring as he looked to end things quickly. Holyfield didn't let him have it his own way and fired in some fast punches of his own as the round came to a close.
Bowe started well with the jab again in the second round, but it was Holyfield who was looking to land the bigger punches. It was looking like the crowd in attendance would get anither exciting contest.
Holyfield's tactics of being mobile and staying just of harms way was being effectively employed, but he just couldn't get out of the way of the jab. The champion complained again about Holyfield's use of the head.
The challenger started the next round on his toes, but initiated an assault that had Bowe taking some meaty left hooks and right hands. Both men didn't hear the bell and had to be separated by the referee and their corner men. Bowe sustained a cut over the left eye.
Holyfield managed to back up the bigger man in the fifth round. Bowe had blood running down his face and his defences were much looser than the previous rounds. Towards the end of the frame Holyfield landed a big right that shook the champion up. As the bell went Bowe looked in all kinds of trouble.
It seemed as the extra poundage had taken its toll on the champion as his sharpness had escaped him. Holyfield looked sharp and was managing to out jab his bigger opponent in the sixth. Bowe came out for the seventh meaning business and both men traded some big shots. The fight seemed to be heating up nicely until some clown decided to try and enter the ring with a paraglider.
His parachute was entangled on the rigging above the ring and his feet were trapped in the ropes. He was pulled back into the crowd, where someone in the champion's team hit him over the head with a cellular phone, knocking him out.
The paraglider was called James Miller and intended to land centre of the ring. He failed miserably and delayed the contest for twenty-one minutes, so that his chute could be untangled from the overhead ring lights.
Unbeknownst to Bowe, his pregnant wife fainted and had to be taken to hospital. Rock Newman missed a trick in not calling the fight to be a no contest. The round resumed from the incident. They both felt each other out with jabs, but it was Holyfield who was the busier fighter in what was a difficult round to score.
Holyfield was landing with the flashier, meatier punches as Bowe just pawed with his jab in the next round. The champion's eye was bleeding again, as the challenger seemed to land at will. Bowe needed to move up a gear, but it didn't look like he had the stamina to raise the pace and force his size on the smaller man.
Bowe finally got his jab going in the ninth and backed the challenger up. Holyfield had a good spurt in the last twenty-seconds, but the older fighter started to look weary. Bowe came out for the tenth looking to impose his authority and get a grip back on the fight. Then the two gladiators began to trade, with Holyfield coming out on top and punched Bowe's gum shield out of his mouth as the bell sounded.
Both men were feeling the pace, but they stood in the centre of the ring trading punches. Holyfield landed the sharper punches, especially at the end of the round as he seemed to hurt Bowe again.