Evander Holyfield continues to box, and has even said he'd be willing to box Tyson again, "if time permits." In fact, Holyfield has been fairly busy. In November 1997, he stopped Michael Moorer in the eighth round, taking the IBF heavyweight championship and avenging his '94 title loss. In September 1998, he defeated Vaughn Bean in a lackluster 12-round decision. Then in March of 1999 he fought World Boxing Council champ Lennox Lewis in an attempt to consolidate his titles. The fight ended in a controversial draw that many observers thought should have gone to Lewis. Even Muhammad Ali weighed in with a protest against the decision. In an unusual show of unity, all three world boxing organizations ordered a rematch within six months. Eight months later, on November 13, 1999, Holyfield lost his title in a unanimous decision for Lewis.
On August 12, 2000, Holyfield took the World Boxing Association title from John Ruiz, becoming the first heavyweight champion to win the title four times. Seven months later he lost it back to Ruiz. Holyfield calmly accepted the unanimous decision, saying, "I was four-time champion and now I'm going to have to become a five time champion." On December 15, 2001, in another controversial decision, judges declared a draw in his rematch with John Ruiz, although Holyfield had appeared to dominate the fight. Ruiz retained his title. A year later, he lost a unanimous decision to Chris Byrd as they were vying for the vacant IBF heavyweight title.
Holyfield continues to box, claiming that he made a promise to himself to regain the title of undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. Every year the goal looks more elusive, but Holyfield has come back before, and surprised the critics. Outside the ring, his personal life has seen its share of upheavals. In 1999, his second wife, Janice, filed for divorce, an event that turned ugly when Evander asked for a paternity test for their child and Janice's lawyers deposed Evander's minister on suspicion that he had been given millions of dollars improperly. Evander Holyfield admits to fathering a number of children out of wedlock, but claims that he is financially supporting them.
Regardless, the man who could forgive Mike Tyson for taking a bite out of him remains a symbol of grace in the ring, a boxer who has proved you don't have to be a killer to be a winner. "I don't believe you have to be mean to be successful," he once declared. "In boxing, two athletes compete against one another. When it's over, you hug." Throughout his long career, Holyfield has tried to live up to that image.
- Evander Holyfield - Further Information
- Evander Holyfield - Going Up Against Iron Mike
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