Volume 2, Number 2 -- February, 1997
By Dave LindEvery now and then, something happens in the world of sports that just makes sense. Take, for example, the Mike Tyson-Evander Holyfield rematch.
Now, I admit, I had been skeptical that such a rematch might ever take place. After all, I had the benefit of watching the powers that be screw up just about every possible good thing that has happened to the world of boxing over the past fifteen years. I mean, look how long it took to get Tyson and Holyfield in the same ring for the first fight!
But the Boxing Powers That Be surprised me. They didn't fuss around with months of contract negotiations. They didn't set up cheesy "Tune-up" fights prior to the rematch which could have resulted in an upset which would spoil the whole gig. They didn't strip Holyfield of his title for refusing to fight some cab driver from Minneapolis who just happens to be the 6th-ranked contender in the WBO. No. they just sat down and put together a deal to bring the two greatest champions of the decade together one more time. Maybe this time we'll all watch.
And what will we see? Well, if you listen to the betting line in Vegas, three-to-one says you'll see Tyson knock Holyfield out. What does Your's Truly say?
Take that three-to-one and put it all on Holyfield.
Here is why. The argument coming from the Tyson camp is that Tyson underestimated Holyfield the first time around, this time he'll be ready.
Hogwash! Tyson no more underestimated Holyfield than New England underestimated Green Bay. This was his Big Fight. This was the one everyone had been pointing to since before Buster Douglas, before Desiree Washington, before prison. Holyfield was the one man Tyson had to beat to prove Buster Douglas was a fluke, to secure his place in history, to establish himself as THE dominant fighter of his era. Holyfield was the man Tyson thought about for three-plus years in prison. Don't even BEGIN to tell me Tyson took him lightly.
So what else ya I got? Holyfield fought the fight of his life? Sure, I'll grant you that one, But that's exactly the thing that makes Holyfield the champion he is. He fights the fight of his life every time out. If there is anything you can take to the bank, its that Evander Holyfield will turn in a championship performance any time he steps into the ring.
But most importantly, the number one reason Holyfield will beat Tyson in the rematch is that Tyson believes he can. For the past ten years the biggest weapon in Mike Tyson's arsenal was not his devastating punch or his awesome handspeed. It was his aura, his ability to convince his opponent that he was invincible. Most of Tyson's opponents were beaten before they ever got into the ring, before the first punch was even thrown. They came into the fight frightened, they fought frightened, and they lost. Two fighters who didn't were Buster Douglas and Evander Holyfield. Both did what they had to do, the only thing they could have done to have a chance against the Tyson Aura; they simply came to work and kicked his ass.
Now that Tyson aura has not only been dispelled, it's going to work against him. Never before as a professional has Tyson had to climb into the ring against an opponent who has beaten him. Not only does Holyfield know he can beat Tyson, Tyson knows it too.
So yeah, give me them 3-1 odds and I'll take Holyfield.
[an error occurred while processing this directive]