Evander Holyfield vs. George Foreman
|Date||April 19, 1991|
|Venue||Convention Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey|
|Title(s) on the line||WBA/WBC/IBF/Lineal Heavyweight Championships|
|Tale of the tape|
On October 25, 1990, Evander Holyfield defeated James "Buster" Douglas by third round knockout to become the Undisputed Heavyweight Champion. Prior to his match with Douglas, Holyfield delayed a potential fight with Mike Tyson, instead agreeing to face 42-year-old George Foreman for the titles should he defeat Douglas. Since ending his 10-year retirement in 1987, Foreman was a perfect 24–0, with 23 of his wins coming via knockout. With Foreman's popularity at an all-time high coupled with the fact that he could possibly become the oldest Heavyweight champion in boxing history, anticipation for the bout was high. As such, the two fighters received high payouts, Holyfield was guaranteed $20 million, while Foreman took home a guaranteed $12.5 million. Despite his age, the outspoken Foreman remained confident that he could dethrone Holyfield and in the months before the fight often said as much in the media. Not to be outdone, Holyfield's manager Dan Duva lampooned Foreman's weight, infamously stating that the fight should be called "The Real Deal" vs. "The Big Meal" and "Some people say George is as fit as a fiddle. But I think he looks more like a cello."
The fight is perhaps best remembered for its memorable round 7. At the beginning of the round, Holyfield was the aggressor, throwing several jabs as Foreman stood back, seemingly waiting for an opportunity to land a powerful right hand. Seconds later, Holyfield missed with a left hook, which led to Foreman countering with a big right hook to Holyfield's head. Foreman would then become the aggressor and continue his attack on Holyfield, landing several punches within the round's first minute. As the second minute of the round began, Holyfield rebounded and proceeded to land a 15-second, multiple punch combination that staggered Foreman. Though Holyfield's barrage of punches seemed to tire Foreman, he nevertheless was able to survive the remainder of the round without going down. This round was ultimately named "Round of the Year" by The Ring magazine. Though Foreman was able to stay competitive throughout the fight, Holyfield ultimately won the fight via unanimous decision, winning all three judges scorecards by scores of 116–111, 117–110 and 115–112. Foreman, however, impressed many by going the distance with the much younger champion.
The fight was a huge success financially, becoming for a time the highest-grossing boxing match of all time. The bout brought in approximately $55 million from pay-per-view buys, with 1.45 million American homes purchasing the fight. Also, an additional $8 million was made from the live gate, with an estimated 19,000 fans attending the fight live.
Many thought this would be Foreman's last chance at the Heavyweight championship. Foreman, however, would shock the boxing world over three years later by defeating Michael Moorer to become the oldest Heavyweight champion at age 45.
- Holyfield Lines Up Foreman Bout, N.Y. Times article, 1990-10-12, Retrieved on 2013-05-15
- Foreman's Jaw Keeps Jabbing Heavyweight Hawks Self as Next Champ, Baltimore Sun article, 1991-04-15, Retrieved on 2013-05-15
- Holyfield Leans In As Foreman Chews the Fat, Baltimore Sun article, 1990-11-21, Retrieved on 2013-05-15
- No Joke, Sports Illustrated article, 1991-04-29, Retrieved on 2013-05-15
- Revenue Record Apparently Falling, N.Y. Times article, 1991-04-25, Retrieved on 2013-05-15