For some reason, Holyfield’s name isn’t mentioned as much in the same conversations as Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis, and Tyson – but he’s right up there with the best ever.
Perhaps it’s his humble, quiet demeanor, or maybe because we remember him as the guy who had a chunk of his ear bitten off by Tyson in 1997.
Holyfield won both of his fights against Tyson in the 1990s. He beat Foreman and Larry Holmes, too.
The 57-year-old is the only four-time heavyweight champion in history, and the only boxer ever to win the undisputed championship in two weight classes.
As talk of a remarkable third fight against Tyson gathers pace, it’s no surprise that most of the spotlight has fallen on ‘Iron Mike’, being the character that he is.
But, there’s a reason why Holyfield was nicknamed ‘The Real Deal’. Here’s what some of the biggest names in heavyweight boxing had to say about him…
“I was so pissed off that Holyfield was such a great fighter and wanted to desperately beat him.”
“He’s a good guy, I always knew he was a good guy. I want people to react and get in their heads, but he never reacted.
“He was an awesome counter-puncher. I’d say the best ever.
“I always wondered how he could be so good and so humble.”
“Great champion: chin, heart, determination, work ethic, demeanor.”
“Holyfield, like me, has an extensive amateur pedigree that has served him well throughout his professional career. He started boxing at eight years old and was an Olympic bronze medalist in 1984. Before he moved up to the heavyweight division, he’s a man that cleared out the cruiserweight division to become the undisputed champion, and arguably the best ever, in that weight class.
“No one ever had as much heart, you hurt him you get 15 shots, like waking a Tiger.”
“He was better than anyone I ever fought. He could think, he could match wits with you. Our fights were so good because he could match me in the thinking aspect. He was always in such great shape.”
“Today’s fighters don’t have the dedication and the dicipline to come out and be a champion. That’s why Evander’s still fighting.
“You can’t blame them for fighting when there’s nothing out there. You can keep giving him opponents, he’s going to keep fighting and keep winning.
“These guys still need to learn how to fight, Evander is the only one I see with the discipline. He dedicates himself and still weighs the same thing he did ten years ago.”