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Evander Holyfield

The Hard Road Back

After the fight, Holyfield announced that he was retiring from boxing, but by January 1993 he'd changed his mind. In Holyfield: The Humble Warrior, his brother Bernard attributes this to a growing anger that the bout with Bowe had been much closer than the judges seemed to think and an anger at Bowe for "talking noise" about Evander's supposed deficiencies. Others thought it might be simple restlessness. Under a new trainer, Emanuel Steward, Holyfield threw himself into another grueling regimen, at the same time developing a more subtle kind of boxing than his previous style. On June 26, 1993, Holyfield was back in the ring, dispatching Alex Stewart in a unanimous decision after 12 rounds. Unimpressed, Rock Newman, Bowe's manager, told Sports Illustrated, "Holyfield won and eliminated himself. He's got no chance for a title fight now."

But despite Newman's comments, Holyfield had earned his rematch with Bowe, which took place on November 6, 1993. Holyfield weighed in at 217 pounds, Bowe at 250. Clearly this would not be an easy fight, and a stunt by a publicity seeker didn't make it easier. In the middle of the match, someone parachuted into the ring, causing 20 minutes of confusion before the fight resumed. Perhaps because his pregnant wife had fainted during the interruption, Bowe seemed more distracted in the second half of the fight, and Holyfield won on a 2-1 decision. Holyfield had performed a rare act in boxing, taking his title back from the man who'd taken it from him. Only Floyd Patterson and Muhammad Ali could say they had done the same.

But he did not hold the title for long. On May 6, 1994, he lost another 12-round decision, this time to Michael Moorer. Again, Holyfield announced his retirement, this time attributing it to a heart condition and his doctors' advice. He did leave the door open for a return in case his heart improved, and subsequent tests at Emory Clinic in Atlanta and the Mayo Clinic revealed that his symptoms had probably been due to dehydration and that his heart was fine. Holyfield himself attributed his "miraculous cure" to faith healer Benny Hinn.

Awards and Accomplishments

1982 Golden Gloves national title
1984 Bronze medal, Olympics, boxing
1986 WBA Cruiserweight champion (Defeats Dwight Qawi)
1987 IBF Cruiserweight champion (Defeats Rickey Parkey)
1988 Undisputed World Cruiserweight Champion (Defeats Carlos DeLeon)
1990 Undisputed World Heavyweight Champion (Defeats Buster Douglas)
1993 Retakes IBF/WBA Heavyweight titles (Defeats Riddick Bowe) (One of three heavyweight champions to regain title from the man who beat him)
2000 Retakes WBA Heavyweight title (Defeats John Ruiz)

In May 1995, he was back in a professional boxing match, when he beat Ray Mercer in a unanimous decision after a brutal fight. In November 1995, the last Bowe-Holyfield match took place in Las Vegas. This time, the younger ex-champ proved too much for the older one. In the 8th round Bowe sent Holyfield to the mat with a right hand and two chopping rights. Their long rivalry was over.

Additional topics

Famous Sports StarsBoxingEvander Holyfield Biography - "you Finish It Out", The Rise Of A Boxer, Chronology, A Plethora Of Titles - SELECTED WRITINGS BY HOLYFIELD: