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Poster publicizing the June 28, 1997, Holyfield-Tyson II fight, dubbed The Sound and The Fury.

Holyfield-Tyson II is a name used to identify the boxing match between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield on June 28, 1997, in which Tyson infamously bit off a portion of Holyfield's ear. The fight was originally billed as Holyfield-Tyson II: The Sound and the Fury and was a follow-up rematch of the first Tyson-Holyfield fight.

The fight took place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The referee officiating the fight was Mills Lane, who was brought in as a late replacement when Tyson's camp protested the original selection of Mitch Halpern (who officiated the first fight) as the referee.[1]

Contents

Background

In the previous Tyson-Holyfield fight, seven months earlier, Holyfield, who opened as a 25-to-1 underdog (eventually pulling to 15-to-2), floored Tyson for the second time in Tyson's career in the sixth round, and scored a TKO over Tyson in round 11. Holyfield dominated Tyson throughout the fight, winning almost every round.

The Fight

Holyfield-Tyson II
Date June 28, 1997
Title(s) on the line WBA Heavyweight Championship

United States Evander Holyfield vs. United States Mike Tyson
The Real Deal Iron Mike
Tale of the tape
Atlanta, GA, USA From Catskill, NY, USA
33-3-0 (24 KO) Pre-fight record 45-2 (39 KO)
WBA Heavyweight Champion Recognition

The fight began with Holyfield dominating Tyson. Holyfield won the first round and won the second. At 2:19 of the first round, an overhand right from Holyfield stunned Tyson, but Tyson fought back immediately pushing Holyfield backwards. At 0:32 of round two, Holyfield ducked under a wild right hand from Tyson; with Holyfield coming forward with his head, their heads clashed opening a large cut over Tyson's right eye. Tyson had repeatedly complained about head-butting in the first bout between the two.[2] However, there were no warnings for headbutts issued during the fight, and the "headbutts" about which Tyson complained were simply punches landed by Holyfield.

As the third round was about to begin, Tyson came out of his corner without his mouthpiece. The referee ordered Tyson back to his corner to insert it. Tyson inserted his mouthpiece, got back into position and the match resumed. Tyson began the third round with a furious attack, but Holyfield blocked most of the shots easily. At that point, Tyson appeared defeated. With forty seconds remaining in the round Holyfield got Tyson in a clinch, and Tyson rolled his head above Holyfield's shoulder and bit Holyfield on his right ear, avulsing a one-inch piece of cartilage from the top of the ear, and spitting out the piece of ear on the ring floor. Holyfield pushed Tyson away at which Lane called for a time-out. Holyfield turned to walk to his corner, and Tyson ran up to Holyfield and shoved him from behind. Lane sent Tyson to a neutral corner as an enraged Holyfield gestured for Lane to look at his bitten ear. The fight was delayed for several minutes as Lane debated what to do. Lane's original inclination was to immediately disqualify Tyson, but after the ringside doctor determined that Holyfield was able to continue despite the bite, Lane announced he would be deducting two points from Tyson and the fight would continue. As Lane explained the decision to Tyson and his cornermen, Tyson asserted that the injury to Holyfield's ear was the result of a punch. "Bullshit," retorted Lane. The fight was resumed.

During another clinch, Tyson bit Holyfield's left ear. Holyfield threw his hands around to get out of the clinch and jumped back. Lane did not stop the fight this time, so the two men continued fighting until time expired. The men walked back to their respective corners when the fight was then stopped.

After the fight was stopped, Tyson ran at Holyfield and Holyfield's trainer Brooks while they were still in their corner. Tyson took swings at the people in his way, but was pushed back to his corner. Announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr. read the decision: "Referee Mills Lane has disqualified Mike Tyson for biting Evander Holyfield on both of his ears."

Later, Tyson was walking back to his locker room when a fan tossed a bottle of water in his direction. Tyson climbed over a temporary railing and up into the stands, made obscene gestures to the crowd, and made his way up the side of a stairway before he was dragged to his locker room. Tyson was suspended and his license withheld.

Aftermath

As a result of biting Holyfield on both ears and other behavior, Tyson's boxing license was revoked by the Nevada State Athletic Commission and he was fined USD $3 million plus legal costs.[3] The revocation was not permanent; a little more than a year later on October 18, 1998, the commission voted 4-1 to restore Tyson's boxing license. He was almost sentenced to prison.[4]

One of Tyson's former trainers, Teddy Atlas, predicted before the fight that Tyson would deliberately get himself disqualified.[5]

References

  1. ^ Lane late replacement, center of action, AP via Slam! Boxing, 1997-06-29, Retrieved on 2007-03-09.
  2. ^ Tyson: 'I'd bite again', BBC Sports, 1999-10-04, Retrieved on 2007-04-18.
  3. ^ Tyson banned for life, AP via Slam! Boxing, 1997-07-09, Retrieved on 2007-03-10.
  4. ^ Mike Tyson timeline, ESPN.com, 2002-01-29, Retrieved on 2009-03-24.
  5. ^ Broder, Jonathan., A coward and his due, Salon.com, 1997-07-10, Retrieved on 2007-04-19.
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