The most famous bite in the ring turns 25 | Video
One of the most unusual and iconic moments in boxing history and sport in general celebrates a quarter of a century this Tuesday: Mike Tyson’s bite on Evander Holyfield’s ear in their rematch fight.
With this action, Tyson may not have established himself as the best boxer of all timebut indisputably yes he did it as the most fearsome. And even though he officially lost that fight, his name was engraved in the memory of all sports fans and even became a reference in popular culture.
But how and why did that infamous bite happen? To understand the surreal moment a little, we have to go back a quarter of a century, to June 28 but from 1997. The venue for the meeting was Las Vegas and he faced Tyson and Holyfield, who They had already met the previous year, giving Evander the winner by knockout.
Needless to say that Tyson was thirsty for revengethat of 1996 against Holyfield had been the second loss in his entire careerwho at that time, at the age of 30, wanted to return him to the top of the boxing world.
Mike “Iron” Tyson he was nicknamed back then, and he came from a winning streak by KO, some of the fastest recorded in the boxing world. I was fresh out of jail where he ended up in 1992 and since he left he had had four fights in 13 months, obtaining two versions of the world title. Neither fight made it past the third round.
Mike’s iron fist felt heavy and launched with a amazing quickness, speed and power, his two main weapons, which were the formula to turn him into one of the strongest boxers gloves have been put on.
They were also the virtues that obviated his apparent disadvantage, because at 1.78 meters tall, he was shorter than the boxers who had dominated and were now dominating the sport.
Fruit of a fractured family, an absent father and a childhood marked by difficulty and povertyas a child Mike learned to take the blows of life, and after hissuffer bullying at school, found in his fists way to return a few hits.
Since his debut in 1985, Tyson took the boxing world by storm, and when he most believed he was invincible, Holyfield came and brought him back down to earthor what is worse, to the canvas.
That KO of Holyfield in the tenth round was one of the toughest losses for Tysonespecially since as he states in his autobiography, Evander’s was a battle he should have fought long before.
If I had fought him (Holyfield) in 1991, when I was originally supposed to fight him, I would have knocked him out. He knows it, everyone in his camp knows it. The best thing that happened to him was that I went to jail. That’s when I wasted all my time.
With all that colophon in the background, the day of the great revenge arrivedwhich was announced as “The Sound and the Fury” (“The Sound and the Fury”) but went down in history as “The Bite Fight” (The Bite Fight).
Despite having trained twice as hard for this fight and having the desire for revenge on the surface, the truth is that the The first two rounds of the fight went to Holyfield. and Tyson was in trouble.
Maybe that’s why, in the middle of the third round, Mike decided to launch himself against the right ear of his opponenttearing out a bit of cartilage and spitting on the ground.
The outrage took over the arena, but nobody wanted to stop the fight, especially due to the great expectation generated by the bettors of Las Vegas. So, incredibly, Tyson was allowed to go on with a two-point penalty, but once the fight restarted, Mike went on the attack again, this time biting off a piece of Holyfield’s left ear.
It was an absolute scandal. Tyson was disqualified from the contest and one unleashed massive fight in the ring in which “Iron Mike” tried to fight his way to Evander again.
According to Mike, the bite was a action product of the heat of the fight, and a retaliation for the cHolyfield’s continuous headersone of which had caused a Tyson’s eye cut in the second round that the referee Mills Lane ignored.
Critics suggested that Tyson just knew he was on his way to being beaten by Holyfield. once again and was looking for a way out.
Many observers who have analyzed the fight in the years since have noted that for the third round Tyson came out without his mouth guard, stating that this proves the premeditation of the bite.
Nevertheless, Tyson has disqualified this theory, saying that throughout his career he always took beatings “like a man”.
“In any fight someone saw me lose, I took my beating like a man I never sat down,” Tyson said, adding that the reason for the sudden desire to bite off Holyfield’s ears it was: “I was angry, I was angry. I lost my composure.
Definitely, Tyson saw the world against him in the third round.. He was cut off, felt like he was being ‘punched senseless’ and he would receive no help from referee Lane.
Tyson, the “Baddest Man on the Planet” he was also tired of playing the pantomime villain, claiming he was unfair that everyone saw Holyfield as the good guy no matter what. “He didn’t make big headlines when he was later implicated in a steroid ring”he pointed.
Interestingly, Tyson was having his best round in the third pre-bite, responding to hooks from Holyfield with some of his own power shots.
“I was fainting a bit,” Tyson said about the impact of headbutts, “but my anger and adrenaline shook me. I just wanted to kill him. Anyone looking could see that the head butts were so obvious. I was furious, an undisciplined soldier and I lost my composure. So I bit him on the ear.”
Whether knowingly or unknowingly, Tyson was certainly looking for a way out of the competition. Defeating Holyfield was not impossible, but he was such a rough gladiator with a granite chin that almost always a long war of attrition was necessary to finish it off. In addition, he was a boxer in love with the sport who had the necessary motivation to seek to be the best. A post-prison Tyson just didn’t have what it took to take him on.
Tyson reflects in his biography:
My heart was not in boxing, but I needed the money. Once I got out of prison, the fun really died.
In another famous statement, Tyson said that he bit Holyfield because: “I didn’t mind fighting by the Marquess of Queensbury rules anymore.”.
And it is that Tyson’s bite, looking back, did not seem against Holyfield, but against the whole world of boxing in general, a sport that he practiced since he was 13 years old, being exploited by managers and promoters for more than a decade. His heart was no longer there, so he bit into the box, chewed it up, and spat it out like bloody cartilage.
The “Bite Fight” it has been reproduced ad nauseam in innumerable references within popular culture. From chapters of The Simpsonscomedy skits, or movies Hollywood.
that infamous bite that marked the end of Mike Tyson’s career, also made him a celebritywho now has another career but in the world of entertainment.
In addition to other projects, such as your company “Earbites” of Cannabis-based edibles in the shape of a bitten ear.
With so much time and so much history, Mike has also had time to reconcile with Holyfield who even he gave her ear piece back in 2018 in a comical publicity video.