History | Nov 09 2018

On This Day: Evander Holyfield tells the story of hammering Mike Tyson into defeat

Evander Holyfield remembers November 9, 1996: The day I beat Mike Tyson
Evander-Holyfield  |  Manny Rubio/USA Today Sports

THE fight with Tyson in 1996 was the most satisfying night of my career because everything I had ever done was built up to that moment. Whatever I achieved it was always being compared to Mike Tyson. It was always, “well you can’t beat Tyson” I think there is one person in everyone’s life who you have to face to pass the test. And Mike Tyson was the guy who everyone put before me, “you beat Buster Douglas but you can’t beat Mike Tyson.” But I was able to do that and it kind of got the monkey off my back.

“So when I beat him it gave me a lot of peace.

“We were in camp for about six or seven weeks. I was specific about being fast so we worked on speed in training. The thing is with Mike is that he’ll try and jump on you and hit you with the big shots right from the start. So we practised for everything he may do; he fights in spurts, so we practised in high energy spurts. That is how Mike fought, he would come out crazy, then he would slow down for a while, then he’d come in crazy again. We concentrated everything we did on how Tyson fights. We used short powerful sparring partners with that in mind – Jerry Bell and David Tua.


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