History | Nov 04 2017

On This Day: Riddick Bowe wins rubber match with Evander Holyfield

Matt Christie focuses on the last chapter of the brutal Riddick Bowe-Evander Holyfield story
Evander Holyfield
Evander Holyfield  |  Action Images/Stu Forster

1. THE third bout between  Evander Holyfield and Riddick Bowe, on November 4 1995, was set for a ratings war with the second installment of Mike Tyson’s comeback following his release from prison. The former heavyweight king was set to take on Buster Mathis Jnr at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on FOX, while Bowe-Holyfield III would take place at the nearby Caesars Palace with HBO broadcasting. However, three days before, Tyson pulled out of the Mathis contest due to a broken thumb.

2. TWO years had passed since Holyfield had levelled the score with Bowe via an upset majority decision win. That sequel came 12 months after their epic opener – still regarded as one of the best fights in heavyweight history – that “Big Daddy” won via unanimous decision. Unlike the first two bouts, the rubber match came without a title attached after Holyfield lost the belts to Michael Moorer in April 1994, whereas Bowe’s WBO title he had picked up since his loss to Evander was not on the line. “The Real Deal” refused to fight for the WBO title because he felt it would damage his goal of regaining the IBF, WBC , and WBA belts.

3. TITLE or not, this was highly anticipated; there was a score to settle. Bowe did not like flying and arrived early in Vegas by bus, finishing his preparations at the Sheraton Desert Inn. Holyfield, meanwhile, based himself close to home in Atlanta to work with trainers Tommy Brooks and Don Turner.


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