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Mike Tyson Vs. Evander Holyfield: Which Fighter Has The Greater Legacy?
Somewhat as it is with Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, the names Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson are destined to be forever linked. Though they only fought twice, with Holyfield winning on both occasions, Tyson and Holyfield had a long running rivalry, with a genuine grudge element added. The two were talked of as natural rivals as far back as 1987, when “The Real Deal” was a cruiserweight, but we had to wait – for one reason or another (jail, injury, etc) – until 1996 before the two mesmerizing heavyweights clashed in ring centre.
Today, quite amazingly considering the infamous “bite fight” of 1997, the rematch, the two have become pretty good friends (with Evander today releasing a Twitter pic of himself wearing a T-short mocking the bizarre DQ win he engaged in with “Iron” Mike. But who was the overall greater fighter, who has the greater legacy – Tyson or Holyfield?
Though many would ordinarily jump right on an article that prompts a debate about who was the better man between two fighters when one of them has beaten the other twice, I have a feeling this will not be the case here. Sure, Holyfield twice defeated Tyson, but this is “Iron Mike” we are talking about after all – a fighter with one of the most rabid and vocal groups of supportive and idolising fans in modern day boxing history.
As such, I’m willing to bet that many comments left on this article are ones saying that though Mike lost two out of two to “The Real Deal” his greatness still outdoes that of Evander’s. And even though Holyfield was a dominant force and world champion at TWO weights, Tyson’s overall greatness, in the eyes of many, will still surpass the former cruiserweight king’s.
Certainly, in terms of impact made, Mike Tyson was a heavyweight who set the scene alight like no other boxer since Muhammad Ali. This excitement will not be forgotten by those supporters of “Iron Mike” who feel he should go down in the history books as having been a finer fighter than Holyfield ever was. However, let’s look now at both men’s achievements throughout their superb careers.
Mike Tyson: Tyson became the youngest claimant to a portion of the world heavyweight title at the incredibly young age of 20. Soon adding the other two versions of the championship to the WBC belt he won by smashing Trevor Berbick, as well as becoming the linear and universally known champ also, Tyson appeared invincible. He wasn’t, as his need to regain the title proves. Mike was able to bounce back from his shock loss to James Douglas, however, and become a two-time holder of a heavyweight title. Winning back both the WBC and WBA versions in 1996, it is fair to call Tyson a two-time heavyweight champion of the world – even though his second reign was not that of the linear champion. Score in terms of major titles won: 8.
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