Evander Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson (2nd meeting)
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Mike Tyson 218 lbs lost to Evander Holyfield 218 lbs by DQ at 3:00 in round 3 of 12
- Date: 1997-06-28
- Location: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
- Referee: Mills Lane
- Judge: Jerry Roth 26-29
1910 2910 389
- Judge: Duane Ford 26-29
1910 2910 389
- Judge: Chuck Giampa 26-29
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- Promoter: Don King
- Ring Announcer: Jimmy Lennon Jr.
- World Boxing Association Heavyweight Title (1st defense by Holyfield)
- Official Program, Photo 2, Photo 3, Photo 4, Photo 5, Photo 6, Photo 7, Photo 8, Photo 9, Photo 10, Photo 11
- See Also: Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield (1st meeting)
- Holyfield vs. Tyson II was billed as "The Sound and The Fury."
- The fight was originally scheduled for May 3, 1997, but it was postponed until June 28 due to a cut Tyson suffered over his left eye during training. The cut occurred when Tyson butted heads with a sparring partner. The postponement was announced on April 8.
- Mitch Halpern, who refereed Holyfield vs. Tyson I, was chosen to officiate the rematch. However, Tyson's co-managers, John Horne and Rory Holloway, appeared before an emergency meeting of the Nevada State Athletic Commission on June 26 and asked that Halpern be replaced. They argued that Tyson would be "psychologically damaged" by having Halpern in the ring. "Mike Tyson is totally convinced that this man cannot be fair with him in this fight," Horne said. The commission rejected the protest and kept Halpern as the referee. But later that night, Halpern decided to step down. "He just reassessed everything and said he refused to be the focal point of the fight," said Marc Ratner, executive director of the commission. The following morning, veteran referee Mills Lane was picked to replace Halpern. "I feel empathy for Mitch, but I'm ready for the fight," Lane said.
- Tyson was rocked in the first round by a right. In the second round, Tyson threw a right as Holyfield was starting to throw a left hook. As Tyson leaned into the punch and Holyfield ducked it, their heads came together and opened a cut over Tyson's right eye. Referee Mills Lane called time and informed ringside officials that the cut was caused by a headbutt. After losing the first two rounds on all three official scorecards, Tyson was doing better in the third, catching Holyfield with a couple of good rights. But in the final minute of the round, while the two were tied up, Tyson bit a chunk out of Holyfield's right ear. Holyfield stepped back and jumped in the air, twirling around. Tyson then walked up behind Holyfield and pushed him into the ropes. Lane stopped the action and deducted two points from Tyson, who told Lane that the damage to Holyfield's ear was caused by a punch. "Bullshit!" Lane replied. When the action resumed, Tyson bit Holyfield's left ear. At the end of the round, when Lane saw the bite mark on Holyfield's left ear, he disqualified Tyson. In a post-fight interview with Jim Gray, Tyson claimed that the headbutts were intentional by Holyfield, and the bites were retaliation.
- Teddy Atlas, Tyson's former trainer, predicted to a group of reporters the night before the fight that Tyson "will try to get lucky, naturally," but if he can't land a knockout punch early, "he's going to try to disqualify himself, either by elbowing, or throwing a low blow, butting or biting."
- Holyfield required eight stitches in his right ear. After the fight, an MGM Grand employee located part of Holyfield's ear in the ring, scooped it up with Latex gloves, and took it to Holyfield's locker-room door. "I have something he probably wants," he told the security guard. Holyfield's camp placed it in an ice bucket and hoped surgeons could reattach it, but it apparently was lost during the ambulance ride. "The plastic surgeon and I were digging through the ice pack and couldn't find it," said Tim Hallmark, Holyfield's conditioning coach.
- On June 30, in a televised statement, Tyson apologized. "I just snapped," he said. "I couldn't tell you why I acted exactly as I did."
- The Nevada State Athletic Commission fined Tyson $3 million dollars. By law, they could not fine him more than 10% of his purse. Tyson made $30 million, while Holyfield got $35 million (the highest paid professional boxing purses ever until 2007). The commission also revoked Tyson's boxing license, which was reinstated in October 1998.
- Holyfield vs. Tyson II was, at the time, the highest grossing boxing match in history in all categories. A crowd of 18,187 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena produced a gate of $17,277,000. Domestic pay-per-view buys totaled more than 1.99 million and generated $99,822,000. The fight was shown on closed circuit television at 1,625 locations in the United States and generated $5,959,000. The fight was also seen in 97 foreign countries and foreign sales totaled $21,240,000, which included sponsorships.
- At the time of the bout, it was estimated by Showtime that Mike Tyson fights accounted for nearly 25% of all pay-per-view revenue since pay-per-view became popular in the 1980s, although most believe this percentage to be lower. It was the biggest promotion ever for Jay Larkin, who worked for Showtime from 1984 to 2005, rising from junior publicist to senior vice president and executive producer.
- When Tyson got out of prison, promoter Don King got him a six-fight deal with the MGM Grand. For his part, King got 618,557 shares of MGM Grand stock. After Tyson's license was revoked, MGM decided to severe it's relationship with Tyson, and MGM Grand controlling owner Kirk Kerkorian bought out King's stake in the hotel and casino for $27.5 million.
- This was the last Mike Tyson fight promoted by Don King. Tyson sued Don King Productions for $100 million in 1998. They settled out of court in 2004 for $14 million, all of which was paid directly to the United States government for unpaid back taxes owed by Tyson.
- Holyfield vs. Tyson II was named the second dirtiest fight of all-time in the December 1997 issue of The Ring.
- "The Bite" was named the 1997 Event of the Year by The Ring.
- Evander Holyfield: "He spit out his mouthpiece and bit me in the ear. It doesn't show no courage to foul and get out of the fight. Fear causes people to do the easy thing, the quickest thing."
- Don Turner, Holyfield's trainer: "It's the most unbelievable thing I've ever seen in all my years of boxing."
- Tommy Brooks, Holyfield's assistant trainer: "A typical bully move. [Tyson] had [Holyfield] all to himself in the ring, but now with 15 people behind him, he suddenly wants to fight. A coward."
- Mike Tyson: "He butted me in the second round, and he looked at me and butted me again. No one deducted points. This is my career. What am I supposed to do? I've got children to raise. He kept butting me. Holyfield is not a tough warrior. He got a little cut on his ear and he quit. Holyfield didn't want to fight, regardless of what he did. Look at me. Look at me. I'll go home, and my kids will be scared of me."
- John Horne, Tyson's co-manager: "Mike got a cut over his eye three inches long. Evander has a little nip on his ear that don't mean nothing, and that's the bottom line. He jumped around like a little bitch."
- Don King: "I am not making excuses for Mike, but I know him. I know that he's a good human being. He's my friend, and I stand by him. What happened that night was an aberration, a sad episode that all of us wish could have been avoided. It has never happened to Mike before, and I believe it will never happen again."
- "Holyfield Bout Put Off By Tyson's Cut Left Eye" By Tom Friend, New York Times, June 9, 1997
- "Tyson prevails in fracas over the ref" Associated Press, June 28, 1997
- "Tyson Disqualified for Biting Holyfield's Ears" By Tom Friend, New York Times, June 29, 1997
- "After Biting, Tyson Faces Trouble From All Corners" By Tom Friend, New York Times, June 30, 1997
- "Mike Should Still Be Paid Zero" By Ira Berkow, New York Times, July 1, 1997
- "Feeding Frenzy" By Richard Hoffer, Sports Illustrated, July 7, 1997
- "Tyson's a Two-Bit Fighter" By Jim Murray, Los Angeles Times, August 18, 1998
- "Mike Tyson chews off a piece of Evander Holyfield's ear during 1997 Las Vegas bout" By Michael Katz, New York Daily News, June 28, 2015
- "Evander Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson II" YouTube video