An oral history of the infamous 1997 Holyfield-Tyson 'bite fight'
On June 28, 1997, Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield fought in Las Vegas in one of the most anticipated rematches in heavyweight boxing history. Holyfield was the defending world champion after he had shocked Tyson seven months earlier in an 11th-round knockout. The two had wildly divergent personalities and were categorically different fighters. Holyfield was a warrior and a strategist; Tyson was a fearsome brawler. The events that followed remain some of the most inexplicable, bizarre and disturbing moments in a sport well-accustomed to pandemonium. For several weeks after Tyson bit off a piece of Holyfield's ear and was disqualified (Tyson actually bit Holyfield twice; he was only penalized after the first bite), the world focused on the controversy. Now 15 years later, questions still remain. What drove Mike Tyson to bite Evander Holyfield? And, perhaps more importantly: How did "The Bite Fight" affect boxing?
(Note: Holyfield declined numerous requests to be interviewed for this story.)
First, it's important to start with the first Tyson-Holyfield fight.