Former undisputed heavyweight champion Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield says he was confused when Mike Tyson chose to face Roy Jones Jr. and not him for his exhibition-bout comeback… then he watched their fight Saturday night.
“My side tried to make the fight happen and we got nothing but excuses,” said Holyfield. “Now I can see why he wanted a tune-up fight before thinking about fighting me.”
“The Real Deal,” says the idea of an exhibition bout was his. Still in supreme physical condition in his 50s, and training in the gym for months, Holyfield feels Tyson took a practice run Saturday night, but there is only one fight the world wants to see.
“Roy Jones was a good local opponent for Mike,” said the unimpressed Holyfield. “But a fight with me would be a global event and the only fight that anyone wants to see is a fight between us. There is absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t make it happen.”
By consensus, Tyson got the better of Jones during the eight-round exhibition match at STAPLES Center Saturday night, a fact that Holyfield says clears the way for the pair to finish their historic rivalry the only way they can.
“No more excuses. This is the fight that must happen for both our legacies. Saturday night you said you were ready to fight me, so sign the contract and get in the ring, Tyson. The world is waiting and it’s on you now. I’m ready.”
“I wasn’t getting in the ring for less than $25 million!” – Evander Holyfield
In an exclusive interview on the I Am Athlete podcast, former undisputed heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield tells host Brandon Marshall it should be him facing fellow great Mike Tyson this weekend, and not Roy Jones Jr.
Marshall, an avid boxing fan in addition to his well-known NFL success, takes the tasks of pressing Holyfield on several boxing related topics, including the infamous ear bite, where Evander views himself in terms of G.O.A.T. conversations and why we are getting, Roy Jones Jr. versus Mike Tyson instead of Holyfield-Tyson III.
“Why not Tyson-Holyfield III?” Marshall asked. Wondering if the holdout was on Tyson and his camps side or if “The Real Deal” was the reason for no bout. “It definitely wasn’t me,” stated Holyfield. “I wasn’t getting in the ring for less than $25 million,” he continued hinting that maybe the money wasn’t right for the two boxing giants to meet for a third time.
“I beat him twice. I felt it was wrong for me to have to ask him to fight me,” explains the always reserved Holyfield. “I don’t know (if he’s scared). I would never ask a person that.”
“I’ll ask, responds Marshall. “Mike Tyson are you scared? We want to see it. We are in the middle of a global pandemic. Everybody is going to order this fight!”
“If they called me to fight in two days, I’d be there to fight in two days,” answers Holyfield.
“Some say Tyson is scared. The champ is ready. Let’s go!” concludes Marshall.
Marshall admits to only being a kid when Tyson and Holyfield were mixing it up inside the squared circle, but admittedly was shocked revisiting the fights as an adult.
“They made Tyson like he’s the G.O.A.T. Like he was unbeatable. I watched the fight, and I didn’t know that you whooped Tyson the way you whooped Tyson. That shocked me,” said Marshall.
Not believing in the myth but the man, Evander’s self-belief is what allowed him to defeat one of the most feared fighters of all-time, “I always want to be the very best that I can be.”
Marshall could not let the champ go without addressing the infamous ear bite fight between Tyson and Holyfield, which took place on June 28, 1997. When questioned about how he kept his restraint, Holyfield gave a shocking answer as to why and how he was able to keep it together, “A prophet told me that it was going to happen,” Holyfield stated. “He’s going to do something to tick you off. You gotta keep your mind on the lord,” he recalls the prophets’ statement.
After Tyson took his second infraction of biting Evander’s ear, that restraint and faith proved to be a difficult task, as Evander was tempted to revert to his upbringing opposed to his faith, “In the ghetto, if they do something to you, you do it worse. People didn’t realize, I was getting ready to bite him right in the dog gone face,” Holyfield remembers. Eventually the words of the prophet and his grandmother’s teachings won, “My grandmother always said, “They always catch the second person.”
There is a glimmer in the eyes of Marshall for this episode. The admiration and respect he has for, “The Real Deal” is apparent. His line of questioning is direct as an interviewer and a fan of the sport. He wears many hats for this particular episode, host, interviewer, matchmaker, boxing historian and he even mixed in a little bit of being a sh*t starter. All in the name of potentially seeing two of his boxing heroes square off just one more time. Tyson-Holyfield III is an idea that Marshall hopes manifests itself int