Tuesday, July 1, 2014

"The Sound and The Fury" Mike Tyson Bites Evander Holyfield

On July1, 1997, the Nevada Athletic Commission suspends Mike Tyson for biting Evander Holyfield on June 28, 1997 during the "The Sounds and The Fury" bill that featured the much anticipated rematch between Tyson and Holyfield.

In the first Tyson-Holyfield fight, seven months earlier, Evander Holyfield, who opened as a 25-to-1 underdog (eventually pulling to 15-to-2), absolutely destroyed Mike Tyson, scoring a TKO over Tyson in round 11.

However, the rematch got most of its notoriety from the strange event that happened between Tyson and Holyfield. In the third round with Tyson on the attacking end of a clinch he rolled over Holyfield's shoulder and bit Evander's ear. With a one-inch piece of Holyfield's ear emerging from his mouth Tyson backed off and spit the bloody apendage onto the ring.

With Holyfield jumping in pain and Tyson reeling in for another attack Judge Mills Lane called a time out to the fight. As Holyfield turned to walk to his corner, Tyson shoved him from behind. Lane sent Tyson to a neutral corner as an enraged Holyfield gestured for Mills Lane to look at his bitten ear which was rapidly bleeding. 

The fight was delayed for several minutes as Lane debated what to do. Lane's original decision was to immediately disqualify Tyson, but after the ringside doctor determined that Holyfield was able to continue despite the massive bite, Lane announced he would be deducting two points from Tyson and the fight would continue. 

Bobby Czyz, who was calling the fight with Steve Albert for Showtime, said, "I wonder how this would have played in Mitch Halpern's eyes," and Albert told Czyz, "Oh my goodness, that's a thought, Bobby." 

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. Tyson's second bite just scarred Holyfield's ear. 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 second bite was discovered and the fight was then stopped.

With the fight stopped Tyson went on rampage at Holyfield and his trainer Brooks while they were still in their corner. Mills Lane told Tyson's corner and Tyson's relatives that he was disqualifying Tyson for biting Holyfield. 

Exactly 25 minutes after the brawl ended, announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr. read the decision: "Ladies and gentlemen, this bout has been stopped at the end of round number three, the referee in charge, Mills Lane, disqualifies Mike Tyson for biting Evander Holyfield in both ears, the winner by way of disqualification and still the WBA Champion of the world, Evander 'The Real Deal' Holyfield!" 

Holyfield won the WBA's boxing championship, prize, money and trophy because of Tyson's disqualification.

It was believed by many that Tyson was upset that he could not intimidate Holyfield and was himself scared enough that he deliberately got himself disqualified. However, Tyson continued to say it was retaliation for the headbutts.

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 three million dollars plus legal costs. 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.

Watch the video below of the match where Tyson bit Holyfield's ear: