If there’s one trilogy fight that would get boxing fans glued to their screens, it would be the chance to see “Iron” Mike Tyson and Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield getting it on again. Now it appears that could become a reality this year, with both fighters locked in advanced talks and apparently close to agreeing terms.
According to the The Sun, the fight itself could generate the duo of boxing legends a huge purse, via a pay-per-view event worth almost $300 million. Saudi Arabia is being touted as the most likely destination, following the recent success of UFC events held there, while the country is also no stranger to hosting big-money events in recent years.
British boxer Anthony Joshua reportedly earned more than $100 million in site fees alone, just for choosing Saudi Arabia as the venue for his rematch against Andy Ruiz Jr. in 2019. Given the huge appeal surrounding a potential bout between Tyson and Holyfield, the country will once again be front and centre as they negotiate an epic encounter.
Despite the fact these two living legends are getting on in years, both are in great shape and have been working hard to stay fighting fit. When 54-year-old Mike Tyson took on 52-year-old Roy Jones Jr. in November 2020, both boxers were in great physical shape but Tyson was favorite to win the bout. The eight-round exhibition fight went the distance and resulted in a draw, although many considered Tyson to have performed better on the day.
Before that exhibition match was agreed last year and with Tyson coming out of retirement, there was no shortage of potential rivals willing to step into the ring with him. In the end, taking on Roy Jones Jr. in California was logistically convenient for both fighters, and officially sanctioned by the California State Athletic Commission.
Nevertheless, early in December last year and via Reuters, 58-year-old Holyfield taunted Tyson by stating his Jones Jr. exhibition was a “tune-up” for when they would eventually meet. “The world is waiting and it’s on you now. I’m ready,” boasted Holyfield, insisting “this is the fight that must happen for both our legacies.”
Scores to Settle
It seems as though Evander Holyfield has finally gotten what he wished for. “The fight is signed, sealed and delivered,” according to Zab Judah, who worked with Mike Tyson ahead of the Roy Jones Jr. exhibition. “It’s going to be a great fight” he told Metro Sport, explaining that both legendary boxers are already in training for the big event.
During the peak of their fame and when both were in their boxing prime, Tyson and Holyfield fought two epic bouts in Las Vegas. Defending his WBA heavyweight title in 1996, Tyson was expected to comfortably beat Holyfield, who iconic promotor Don King considered to be a washed-up has-been. Nevertheless, Holyfield managed to stun Tyson with a TKO victory in the eleventh round.
Such was the demand for a rematch, Tyson versus Holyfield II was held less than a year later in 1997. This fight would ultimately end in controversy and notoriety, after Tyson was disqualified for biting a chunk out of Holyfield’s ear. Despite almost 25 years having passed, there is inevitably still some bad blood between these two boxing legends, which inevitably makes the prospect of Tyson versus Holyfield III all the more appealing.