Las Vegas Sun

June 16, 2021

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Fight disintegrates after Tyson bites Holyfield

Round by Round

Referee Mills Lane stops the fight before round four starts after Mike Tyson bites Evander Holyfield twice in the ears. Holyfield wins by disqualification.

Round 3: Tyson starts the round by charging Holyfield and landing several blows. Crowd is excited. Fighters tied up. Holyfield throwing right after right trying to punish Tyson. Tyson with a straight right to the head of Holyfield that hurts him. Tyson bites the ear of Holyfield and Holyfield's ear is bloody. After Mills Lane breaks the two up, Tyson charges Holyfield and pushes him in the back. One point is taken away from Tyson. Commisioner comes in and says, "He bit his ear, he is out." The doctor overrules the decision and the fight continues with Tyson having a two point deduction. The Holyfield camp is complaining. Major controversy as fight heats up and Tyson bites Holyfield again. An unbelievable occurance of events that leaves Holyfield and his camp in shock. The crowd is booing Tyson. Then after the round, Lane ends the fight and disqualifies Tyson. Now a fight breaks out in the ring with Tyson trying to charge Holyfield. Security is holding Tyson. Crowd is chanting in anger. Again, two sharp bites from Tyson in the ears of Holyfield ends the fight. Holyfield wins by disqualification.

Round 2: Tyson with a left hook. Tyson is showing more movement than in the previous fight. Tyson's right eye is bleeding, not the same eye that post-postoned the fight date. Holyfield is digging in with upper cuts to the body. Cut over Tyson's eye is pretty deep. Tyson lands a nice right hand, but can't land the combination. Tyson looks frustrated.

Round 1: The waiting is over, the talking is done, the re-match is here! Tyson lands a straight jab and is moving around. Holyfield wrestles Tyson to his chest. Both fighters are intense. Tyson will not back away. Holyfield is coming in low and picking his spots. Holyfield with a left hook and jab, then a great hook. Holyfield with a combination that hurts Tyson. Tyson responds with a left, but Holyfield manages to hurt Tyson a little. The crowd is chanting "Holyfield, Holyfield," as Holyfield wins an action packed round.

Preview: A capacity crowd of 16,300 plus are on hand to witness this much anticipated fight at the MGM Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas. If Tyson defeats Holyfield, he will become the third heavyweight in history to win the heavyweight title three times. The other two fighters, Holyfield and the great Muhammad Ali. Both fighters will receive a purse of at least $30 million for this bout. Tyson is a -180 favorite at Las Vegas sport books and Holyfield is +160.

Saturday night, controversy took a back seat to the absurd.

In what you sometimes see in a professional wrestling ring instead of a prizefighting ring, Mike Tyson was disqualified after the third round of his scheduled 12-round WBA heavyweight championship fight after he bit reigning champ Evander Holyfield on both of his ears.

The bizarre finish to the much ballyhooed rematch stunned the capacity crowd of 16,331 at the MGM Grand Garden, not to mention the millions watching around the world on closed circuit and pay-per-view television.

Mills Lane, a somewhat controversial figure himself by replacing referee Mitch Halpern after Halpern removed himself from the fight Thursday night when Tyson's camp protested his working the rematch, disqualified Tyson for his blatant actions during the third round.

Following the disqualification, the Nevada State Athletic Commission suspended Tyson pending an emergency hearing at 10 a.m. Tuesday at City Hall. Tyson's purse was also being withheld pending the results of the hearing.

Both Holyfield and Tyson received $30 million for the rematch as the sellout crowd produced a live gate of $14 million. The fight was expected to gross around $200 million with closed circuit and pay-per-view revenues worldwide.

"When he bit me the first time, I couldn't believe it," said Holyfield, who was taken to Valley Hospital to have the one-inch chunk of his right ear re-attached by plastic surgery. "They have rules and regulations for this.

"After he bit me the first time, I went back to my corner and they told me to breath deep and concentrate.

"Mills Lane told him one more time and he's gone. He continued to foul and Mills Lane saw it as intentional."

Lane said: "One bite is bad enough. Two bites, that's the end."

"You could see the teeth marks, the indentation in his ear. I took one point away for pushing and another one for biting. After the second bite, it was already done. I had made my decision."

Tyson, who claimed his actions were in response to Holyfield's constant head-butting. An accidental head-butt early in the second round opened a cut over Tyson's right eye.

"He butted me in the first round and in the second round again," Tyson said. "He kept going down and coming up on me.

"This is my career. I have children to raise. I have to retaliate. He butted me. Look at me. My kids will be scared of me."

Tyson was still a 2-to-1 favorite at the MGM's sports book at fight time but other Las Vegas books were getting plenty of action on Holyfield. Tyson was as little as minus -170 at some properties. And when the two fighters were introduced, it was Holyfield who was clearly the crowd's favorite.

Tyson predictably came out attacking, but Holyfield was ready and he absorbed only a left to the side of his head. With a minute to go in the opening round, Holyfield nailed Tyson with a straight right hand to the head, then won a battle of exchanges 20 seconds later.

Ten seconds into the second round, Tyson was butted above his right eye by Holyfield and Lane temporarily stopped the proceedings to warn Holyfield and let the judges know what caused the cut.

"It was an accidental head-butt and that's what I told the judges," Lane said."

Tyson tried to step it up in the third and he appeared to be gaining the advantage for the first time. But Holyfield weathered the storm and things appeared to be back on an even keel. But after what seemed like the umpteenth clinch, Tyson unbelievably and inexplicably bit Holyfield's right ear.

The champ jumped up and down in pain and Lane temporarily stopped the bout with 33 seconds remaining in the round. On his way back to the corner, Tyson shoved Holyfield from behind.

Ringside physician Dr. Flip Homansky examined Holyfield while Tyson seethed in his corner. After a couple of minutes, the fight continued and both combatants traded huge shots, the capacity crowd roaring with every swing.

But the two got tied up again. And Tyson once again tried to bite off a piece of Holyfield. This time it was his left ear. Again, the fight was temporarily halted while Holyfield was attended to.

Seconds later, the bell sounded, both fighters returned to their corners and NSAC executive director Marc Ratner climbed up on the ring apron, talked to Lane, and just like that, the fight was over. Tyson was disqualifed.

Bedlam ensued as both sides tried to get at one another. Metro Police stormed the ring to restore order and it took several minutes before the chaos in the ring was quelled.

Holyfield left the ring from a different route than which he entered and he was able to leave under his own power. A few minutes later, Tyson left the arena to a chorus of boos and was pelted with bottles, cups and other items by the irate fans. That sparked another enforcement action by Metro as several fans were subdued and arrested in the section adjacent to the walkwway to the dressing room.

The win improved Holyfield's record to 34-3 while Tyson suffered his third loss against 45 wins.

Will there be a Holyfield-Tyson III? Don't count on it. At least from the Holyfield camp's perspective.

"I just want to concentrate on what happened," Holyfield said when asked about facing Tyson again. "I need to think about it and sit down."

Trainer Don Turner was more definitive.

"No," he said of a third fight between his man and Tyson.

On the undercard, six-time world champion Julio Cesar Chavez notched his 100th career victory, outpointing Larry La Coursiere by unanimous decision in their 10-round super-lightweight contest while Miguel Angel Gonzalez stopped Roberto Granciosa in the third round of their scheduled 10- round super-lightweight bout.

Chavez and Gonzalez are scheduled to meet in September for the WBC super-lightweight title.

In a special women's attraction, Christy Martin earned a TKO victory over Andrea DeShong when their scheduled eight-round bout was stopped by the referee in the seventh.