Evander Holyfield is The Real Deal

Evander Holyfield

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Tyson – Holyfield 1

It was 1996 and Mike Tyson was fighting Evander Holyfield for the first time.  I was told that Mike’s favorite punch was trying to hit the tip of his opponent’s nose bone through his brain and this left me fearing for Evander’s life.  Vegas felt the same way as Evander opened as a 20-1 dog only to settle at 6-1.  This wasn’t the ear fight and is considered one of the greatest heavyweight fights of all time when Evander stopped Iron Mike in the 11th.  Evander not only stood up to the baddest man on the planet, but earned his respect and proved he was the better fighter.

You Don't Want to Fight This

You Don’t Want to Fight This

“I knew it was going to be a tough fight.  Fighters know.  Evander, he has an incredible competitive spirit.  He’s not like me.  He’s not going to point in your face and tell you you’re going to lose and it’s going to be a bad ass show.  He’s not going to do that.  But he is that way.  He shows it in the ring.  He’ll be all these things I am, talking I’m going to kill you, but it’s in the ring. He just waits.  That’s just what he is.” – Mike Tyson

 

30 on 30 – Chasing Tyson

chasing_tysonThis post is obviously inspired by the 30 on 30 called Chasing Tyson and reviewed the years leading up the 2 super fights in ’96 & ’97.  Evander is not just a role model but an athlete who should be studied for his achievements and overcoming many challengs.  Evander wasn’t meant to be a heavyweight.  He came up from the Cruiserweight class and got there through hard work and determination but was outweighed in most fights.  This reduced his knockout power, made his bouts run longer, but no one could ever question Evander’s heart.

Tyson - Holyfield 1991

Tyson – Holyfield 1991

He was soft spoken and didn’t get himself into trouble out of the ring.  People knew he was a great fighter but pretty much didn’t care even when he won the heavyweight championship by beating the same Buster Douglas who beat Mike Tyson in 1990.  The world watched Tyson’s every move because they are drawn to the creation of energy and Evander didn’t do so anywhere but in the ring.  He was going to fight Tyson in November of 1991 when Tyson went to jail for the hotel room incident with a beauty queen.  This should have been the best fight of the decade when both fighters were in their prime (Holyfield 29, Tyson 25).

This is what happens when your opponent knows they can't win.

This is what happens when your opponent knows they can’t win.

In the years following with Tyson in jail, Holyfield went 5-3 with 2 losses to Riddick Bowe and 1 to Michael Moorer.  When Tyson got out in 1995, he fought 4 times that lasted a total of 8 rounds.   This set up the highly anticipated Tyson-Holyfight bout.   Tyson was 30 and Holyfield was already in his mid-30’s.  Holyfield shouldn’t have won on paper but his heart was bigger than the typical fighter.  After this fight Mike showed the greatest respect for Evander and truly realized he had been beaten by a superior boxer.  Sure the 2nd fight didn’t go as planned as Mike bit both of Holyfield’s ears in the 3rd round and got disqualified in one of the most bizarre spots in boxing history.

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How did I let this happen?

Evander can’t be forgotten though and it seems like he slips through the cracks.  He didn’t have the power as a heavyweight which never gave him that knockout pizzazz.  He held the heavyweight title belt 4 times which has never been done before.  His mild manner kept him out of the spotlight and he ended up having a 27 years fighting career fighting all the way up to age 49.  He ran into some financial difficulties and now does some oddball commercials and stars on Big Brother and tells people that being gay can be fixed.  I still enjoyed learning more about the man who conquered the evil that was Mike Tyson.

 

By |2015-11-10T22:43:25-05:00November 10th, 2015|Sports|0 Comments

Jimmy Connors 30 on 30 – This is What They Want

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Airing at 8pm tonight, 10/29/13, was a tremendous, hour long production of the improbable Jimmy Connors US Open run of 1991. The run itself is entertaining but his attitude towards competing is what sets this type of story apart. Hearing Chuck Klosterman give his insight on Connor’s mindset is equally intriguing because he’s the only commentator that tries to dig into the real Jimmy. The program is only an hour long and if you ever have the time to watch it, I suggest you do even if you don’t like tennis to learn about a true competitor.

During his career he won eight Grand Slam singles titles and two Grand Slam doubles titles, and was a runner-up in seven Grand Slam singles finals, one Grand Slam doubles final and one Grand Slam mixed doubles final. He held the top ranking for a then-record 160 consecutive weeks from July 29, 1974 to August 22, 1977 and an additional eight times during his career for a total of 268 weeks. Notice the dates of his prime are late 70’s to mid 80’s. In 1991, Connor’s was 38 years old and recovering from wrist surgery. He decided to give the US Open one more shot and that tale is what the 30 on 30 documented. I won’t rehash all of the events but let’s just say it’s captivating. The video below demonstrates a point Connors had in the 4th round against Paul Haarhuis.

Notice the crowd reaction to the point. Jimmy was able to work the crowd like nobody else in tennis, ever. He made you feel like he needed you to win. He used everything he could to in his power to help him win. Whether it be stalling, arguing with the line judge, or pumping up the crowd, he knew what it took to obtain victory. His attitude in interviews is remarkable too because he basically says if you don’t like it, so what. His actions were authentic even though everything he did seemed staged. You don’t see this type of attitude out of players today like Nadal and Djokavic. Jimmy brought a one of a kind personality to tennis and it shows an incredibly powerful tool that most athletes or competitors don’t utilize today and that’s the ultimate desire to win with a fuck you attitude.

By |2013-10-29T23:39:06-04:00October 29th, 2013|Sports|0 Comments

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