Holyfield Breaks Down His Strategy in Upset of Mike Tyson

    Former undisputed heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield explained that he made a key decision to pull off his upset victory of Mike Tyson back in 1996.

    A huge underdog coming, Holyfield dropped and eventually stopped Tyson in the eleventh round to capture the heavyweight championship for a third time.

    A rematch was held the following year, with Holyfield winning by way of a third round disqualification after Tyson bit a piece of his ear off.

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    When the first bout was signed, Holyfield had made a mental decision to come forward, push Tyson back and throw quick power punch combinations.

    “I always liked to come forward, everyone thought I was gonna run from Mike, I wanted him to know I wasn’t going anywhere, that was the whole big thing,” Holyfield told BBC Radio 5 Live.

    “I felt that I had quicker hands than Mike, I felt I had the reach. I got to hit him a couple of times, when you start hitting people they start changing. Mike even said himself, ‘everyone’s got a plan until they get hit’. I’m one of those fighters that got hit a lot of times by some good shots, but I can take it. The point of the matter was Mike didn’t get hit a lot because people were kinda timid with Mike. With me I wasn’t timid, I realized he was going to hit me but I had the right to hit him back.

    “The art of the game was to let him know that he chose the wrong person this time, because if he’s gonna get me he’s gonna have to outwork me. The thing is I had already made up my mind that I would get the last punch so when he goes back to the corner I wanted him to think about how hard I hit him. I didn’t want to go back thinking about how hard he hit me. I knew that was part of the game plan, you’ve got to push him, you’ve got to beat him to the punch. I know that, things that people tend to do to their opponent they don’t like that for it to happen to them. When I saw I hit Mike to the body, I knew it would slow him down.”

    The two fights could end up meeting for a third time, in an exhibition bout.

    Tyson, now 53-years-old, and Holyfield, now 57, are both in training to return to the ring – but there is no guarantee that they will end up facing each other.

    Tyson specifically wants to take part in exhibition bouts to raise money for charity.

    This article was originally published on

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