Mike Tyson is now selling ears with bite marks. The former boxing world champion recently denied in a late-night show that the shape of the cannabis-laced fruit gums has anything to do with the scandalous fight against Evander Holyfield: “That’s not Evander’s ear”. 25 years after his bite in that World Championship fight, no one believes him.
Tyson is now a businessman in the marijuana market, has acted in movies, and has been referred to by people as “the nice old weed-smoking uncle.” But when you hear the name Mike Tyson, you probably still think first of that fight on June 28, 1997. Even those who didn’t see the fight at all.
Holyfield and Tyson had faced each other in the ring the year before. Holyfield surprisingly won the first fight, before a rematch took place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Hardly anyone was interested in the fact that Holyfield also won the second duel in the evening – everyone was only talking about Tyson’s bizarre attack, who first bit Holyfield’s left ear and shortly afterwards bit off a piece of his right ear and spat on the ground. “I wanted to hurt him more than he wanted to headbutt me. I headbutted him back but he kept going so I bit him,” Tyson once said of the scene. “I shouldn’t have done that, but I was bloody and pissed.”
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The two are now friends in their mid-fifties, but back then Holyfield had to discipline himself not to attack Tyson. “It wasn’t easy to control myself. I actually wanted to kick Tyson in the balls,” Holyfield said in an interview with “Sport Bild”. He will not seek contact on the occasion of the anniversary. “The reason I probably won’t call him is that the call would only remind him that I hit him that time. I don’t like doing that very much.”
With his brutal punching power, “Iron Mike” had risen from a poor background to become the youngest world champion in boxing history when he won the title at just 20 years old. In mostly short fights, the dazzling New Yorker with the prominent gap in his teeth knocked out many of his opponents. A conviction for rape, the three-year prison sentence and the scandal against Holyfield finally earned him the reputation of the scandalous boxer.
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face,” Tyson once said. A sentence that also symbolizes his life. Again and again he made the headlines with fights and gaffes, and was temporarily banned from working. Tyson appeared to have lost all public sympathy several times. Tigers as private pets, his striking tattoo on the left side of his face – people no longer had respect for the athlete, but laughed at the person. Only in the past few years has perception changed somewhat for the better. He recently told Jimmy Kimmel, host of the late-night show of the same name on US television, to applause from the audience: “I’m in a winning position.”
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However, his life is not completely trouble-free. Just a few months ago, he made headlines again because he beat up a man on an airplane who had previously verbally annoyed and teased him. “That shouldn’t have happened. I shouldn’t have done that. I was tired, high, pissed off,” Tyson said.
Tyson will be 56 at the end of the month. In the next 25 years, however, he will probably not be able to shake off his reputation as the guy who bit off a piece of his opponent’s ear in a boxing match and couldn’t control himself. Or maybe he doesn’t want to. (dpa)