James (Buster) Douglas vs. Evander Holyfield
1990-10-25 : James Douglas 246 lbs lost to Evander Holyfield 208 lbs by KO at 1:10 in round 3 of 12
- Location: Mirage Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
- Referee: Mills Lane
- Judge: Dave Moretti 18-20
- Judge: Jerry Roth 18-20
- Judge: Chuck Giampa 18-20
- World Boxing Council Heavyweight Title (1st defense by Douglas)
- World Boxing Association Heavyweight Title (1st defense by Douglas)
- International Boxing Federation Heavyweight Title (1st defense by Douglas)
- Program Cover
- Evander Holyfield, ranked as the #1 contender by all three major sanctioning bodies, was scheduled to face World Heavyweight Champion Mike Tyson on June 18, 1990, but plans changed when Buster Douglas, a 42-1 underdog, knocked Tyson out on February 11, 1990.
- The Mirage Casino won the right to promote the fight by winning a purse bid of $32,100,000, beating out Main Events (Holyfield's promoter at the time), who bid $29,101,000. The Mirage's bid is still the largest winning purse bid of all time.
- Douglas filed a lawsuit to break his promotional contract with Don King and signed a conditional contract to make his first title defense at The Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Douglas claimed that King breached their contract when he tried to have Douglas' win against Tyson overturned. An out of court settlement gave King the right to promote a Douglas-Tyson rematch, but Douglas would first defend against Holyfield at The Mirage, a promotion in which King would have no direct pecuniary interest. Steve Wynn, owner of The Mirage, cut out the middlemen and promoted the fight himself. "Fighters see the wisdom of not needing to pay someone like Arum $3 million when they can talk to me themselves," Wynn said. "If we have a hot fight, people will buy it on pay-per-view. No hyping by an Arum or King will change that."
- Douglas put on a lot of weight after defeating Tyson and entered training camp very heavy. Wynn was so concerned about Douglas' weight that he offered the champion private use of a hotel sauna. Wynn wasn't very happy when he discovered that Douglas called room service from the sauna on one occasion and ordered $98 worth of food.
- At the official weigh-in, Douglas weighed 246 lbs, 14½ more than his weight for the Tyson fight. "Roll him in and carry him out," said Lou Duva, co-trainer of Holyfield, who came in at a svelte 208. Mirage oddsmaker Jimmy Vaccaro said there was a mad rush to the sports book after the weigh-in. "Over $150,000 was bet in one hour, and 90 percent of it was bet on Holyfield," he said. Holyfield had been as much as a 12-5 favorite. The odds went down to 7-5, but after the weigh-in, went up to 9-5.
- Holyfield easily controlled the first two rounds. He landed 66 of 100 punches, while Douglas landed 20 of 69. In the third round, Holyfield feinted with a left and Douglas threw a right uppercut lead. Holyfield stepped back and threw a right cross, catching Douglas on the chin. Douglas went down, landing hard on his left side. He showed no inclination to rise. He wiped his face with his gloves, checking for blood, then rolled over onto his back and took the referee's count of ten.
- Douglas made $24,075,000, the largest purse ever at that time, and Holyfield got $8,025,000. Paid attendance at The Mirage's outdoor stadium was 10,117, which produced a gate of $6,546,441. The fight generated about 1 million pay-per-view buys at an average price of $34.95, and closed-circuit telecasts netted about $1.5 million. Showtime paid $2.1 million for the delayed broadcast.
- Wynn was very upset with Douglas' effort and suggested that future fights should be winner-take-all so boxers would have more incentive to win. Many others were also upset with Douglas, who had immense natural ability but suffered from a chronic lack of dedication.
- Douglas retired after the fight. He ballooned to roughly 400 lbs, his blood-sugar count went up to 800, and he went into a diabetic coma. When he got out of the hospital, he started working out in the gym to lose weight. He lost about 150 lbs and decided to make a comeback. He won six consecutive fights before being stopped in one round by Lou Savarese. He fought two more times, winning both, then retired for good.
- "Big Buster busts scales: But overweight champ 'ready' for Holyfield" By Micheal Katz, New York Daily News, October 25, 1990
- "Busted: Evander Holyfield won the heavyweight title by knocking out a plodding Buster Douglas" By Pat Putnam, Sports Illustrated, November 5, 1990
- Nevada's Largest Grossing Boxing Gates