Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield’s infamous ear bite

The rise and fall of Tyson

Mike Tyson rose to fame in the mid-1980s with his formidable and relentless boxing style. He became the youngest world heavyweight champion in history at just 19 years old in 1985 when he beat Trevor Berbick. However, after only a few years at the top, a list of things began to go wrong that set the wheels in motion for the downfall of possibly the hardest hitter the boxing world had ever seen. These problems include;

  • Divorcing his actress wife Robin Givens after she accused him of domestic violence
  • Firing and suing your manager
  • Two car accidents, one of which may have been a suicide attempt
  • Leaving his coach Kevin Rooney and joining Don King

On February 11, 1990, Tyson lost the heavyweight title to underdog James ‘Buster’ Douglas in a fight for which he did not prepare. A year later, he was accused of raping beauty contestant Desiree Washington, for which he served three years in prison.

Tyson vs. Holyfield – Part One

After his release, Tyson regained his titles and planned to fight Evander Holyfield, a former retired champion. On November 9, 1996, the long-awaited fight took place, the huge bag that involved tempting Holyfield into abandoning his retirement. In the eleventh round, underdog Holyfield caused a surprise and beat Tyson in a TKO to win the WBA version of the title.

Tyson vs. Holyfield – Part Two

A year later, on June 28, 1997, the two wrestlers met again in the ring. Holyfield had prepared hard for the fight and came out in the first round hitting Tyson with a series of body shots, sending his opponent flailing. In the second round, Holyfield, who was no stranger to controversial ring tactics, headbutted Tyson causing a cut to open over his right eye.

Holyfield’s tactics got to Tyson and in the third round he lost what little composure he had. He spat out his rubber protector, pushed his opponent towards him and bit off a piece of his ear, then dramatically spat the meat onto the mat. The fight continued after the wound was cleaned only for Tyson to go straight to bite the other ear.

He was disqualified from the match and lost the $ 30 million prize, in addition to failing to regain the Heavyweight Championship belt that he had lost a year earlier. Despite his pleas that he only did so in reaction to Holyfield’s constant header, after the fight, Tyson was stripped of his boxing license, although it was restored only a year later.

The two boxers met once more in 2009 at the Oprah Winfrey Show where Tyson publicly apologized for the incident with Holyfield, who agreed to forgive and forget.

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