Evander Holyfield lost 10 times in 57 bouts over his 27-year professional boxing career. He was defined by his comebacks, his sheer will and courage, winning some of the biggest fights in the sport’s history.
He beat Mike Tyson twice, Riddick Bowe, Michael Moorer, Dwight Muhammad and more, fighting everybody of significance in his era.
For those reasons, the former Fayetteville, Ga., resident was voted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. Induction ceremonies are next week in the small village of Canstota, N.Y.
These are the top five fights of his career:
Nov. 9, 1996 (MGM Grand, Las Vegas)
Defeated Mike Tyson, TKO-11
• Holyfield opened as a 25-1 underdog. He had looked bad in four consecutive fights (losses to Michael Moorer and Riddick Bowe; wins over Ray Mercer and Bobby Czyz). Tyson had dominated eight straight opponents since his lone loss to Buster Douglas. But Tyson’s predictable style turned out to be perfect for Holyfield, who outboxed and ultimately outslugged “the baddest man on the planet.”
Nov. 6, 1993 (Caesars Palace, Las Vegas)
Defeated Riddick Bowe, decision-12
• This was the middle fight of the trilogy after Bowe had beaten Holyfield for the title one year earlier. The fight was remembered for two reasons: A deranged paraglider (“Fan Man”) crashing into the outdoor ring in round 7 and the Holyfield (217 pounds) being the more punishing fighter than the larger Bowe (246).
Oct. 25, 1990 (Mirage Hotel, Las Vegas)
Defeated Buster Douglas, KO-3
• It was the first time Holyfield won the heavyweight title but it actually was one of his easiest fights. Douglas weighed in at a bloated 246 pounds, 15 pounds heavier than in his stunning upset of Mike Tyson eight months earlier. Holyfield outboxed him for two rounds, then dropped him with a straight right in the third.
July 12, 1986 (The Omni, Atlanta)
Defeated Dwight Muhammad Qawi, decision-15
• It was Holyfield’s first pro title (cruiserweight) and he often says this was the toughest fight of his career. He suffered severe dehydration and he was pushed to his physical limits but he won a unanimous decision in his hometown.
Nov. 8, 1997 (Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas)
Defeated Michael Moorer, TKO-8
• Holyfield was coming off consecutive wins over Tyson (losing part of ear in the rematch) and was set on avenging his earlier title defeat to Moorer. It was one of the most overwhelming victories of his career. He knocked down Moorer five times, including twice in the eighth. The bout was stopped before the ninth.
Read what Evander Holyfield is doing now and which of these fights he recalls most on myAJC.com.