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On This Date in Sports November 9, 1996: The Real Deal

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

The much-anticipated fight between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield turns out to be better than expected, as Holyfield stands toe-to-toe with "the baddest man on the planet" and proves to be the superior fighter. Holyfield controls the fight and scores an 11th round TKO to earn his third Heavyweight Championship reign. Tyson and Holyfield were set to fight in 1990 before Tyson was upset by Buster Douglas. While a 1991 bout was postponed due to Tyson facing rape charges. The two would fight again seven months later, with Mike Tyson being disqualified for biting. 

Mike Tyson was viewed as the top heavyweight in the world; he quickly rose up the ladder and became heavyweight champion in 1986 at the age of 20. Tyson was the youngest champion and among the most dominant as he ran off a string of quick knockouts that made him the most intimidating heavyweight in boxing's grand history. Mike Tyson's string of knockouts ended in 1990 when he was upset by Buster Douglas. The Douglas fight was a warmup for a showdown with Evander Holyfield, who had become the top contender. 

Evander Holyfield was born on October 19, 1962, in Atmore, Alabama. Raised in Atlanta, Holyfield took the traditional route to the top of the heavyweight division. A champion golden gloves fighter, Holyfield suffered a controversial loss in the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics to Kevin Barry. Evander Holyfield began his career as a cruiserweight, winning the championship in 1986. Three years later, Holyfield began to fight in the heavyweight division and was viewed as Mike Tyson's biggest challenge. When Tyson was upset by Buster Douglas, Holyfield got his chance, easily beating Buster Douglas to win the championship. 

After Evander Holyfield defeated Buster Douglas, he was expected to fight Mike Tyson. However, Tyson was charged with rape and later convicted, serving three years in prison. While Tyson was in prison, Evander Holyfield became the face of boxing. However, Holyfield's title reign ended in 1992 when he lost to Riddick Bowe. It was Holyfield's first career loss. He won a rematch one year later, beating Bowe by a majority decision. Evander Holyfield's second title reign was short, as he was upset in April of 1994 by Michael Moorer. 

Over the next two years, Evander Holyfield looked to regain the status that he had lost when he was beaten by Michael Moorer. Mike Tyson had been released in 1995 and quickly became a title contender, claiming the WBA and WBC heavyweight championships. After scoring a first-round knockout of Bruce Seldon for the WBA Championship, he put the title on the line two months later against Evander Holyfield. 

Mike Tyson came out looking to dominate and intimidate Evander Holyfield in the fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Holyfield took Tyson's best shots and did not back down. Studying Tyson, Holyfield noticed that the heavyweight champion dipped his shoulder whenever he was looking to land a power shot. This proved vital as Holyfield knocked Tyson against the ropes in the second round and began a steady attack, blocking and preventing Mike Tyson from landing the big blow. 

In the sixth round, Mike Tyson was cut open by an accidental head butt from Evander Holyfield. It was at this point that Tyson began to get frustrated, as Holyfield was winning the fight. In the tenth round, Mike Tyson was saved by the bell, as a punch from Evander Holyfield sent him reeling into the ropes, where Holyfield delivered a steady rain of blows. Between rounds, Tyson was out on his feet, but the fight continued. When the 11th round began, Evander Holyfield went in for the kill, continuing to pummel Tyson until the fight was stopped 37 seconds into the penultimate round. 

Evander Holyfield was once again the heavyweight champion and finally answered the question of whether he could stand in the ring with Mike Tyson by scoring an impressive win.