SOME felt Evander Holyfield, a 1984 Olympic bronze medallist, was being thrown to the lions when he was paired with the fearsome Dwight Muhammad Qawi, a former light-heavyweight champion who was a barrel-like keg of dynamite.
“The Camden Buzz-saw” was experienced and had been in his fair share of wars, whereas Holyfield had much to prove.
But in front of his raucous hometown fans, the future world heavyweight king dethroned Qawi in a 15-round barnstormer that provided non-stop action in a close-quarter war often referred to as the last great 15-round fight.
Qawi felt he had done enough by the end, but Holyfield’s work was crisper and cleaner and he landed more leather than the veteran star, who was deducted a point for low blows in the last round.
BN said of the fight that Holyfield, who had a seven-inch height advantage over the sawn-off champion, had won: “A split decision over 15 gruelling, thrilling rounds… There were no knockdowns but it was a fight loaded with action and solid punching.”
The action seesawed with both enjoying moments of success.
Holyfield seemed to be tiring in the fifth and sixth sessions but found a second wind.
“Qawi landed punches in sudden, punishing bursts,” read our report. “Often blazing back just when it seemed that Holyfield was having a good round. Then Holyfield would answer back, putting his own punches together in combinations as the crowd got right behind him.”
The future Hall-of-Famers fought again a year later, in Atlantic City, but an uninterested Qawi bowed out after four rounds in a comparatively timid affair.