By: Sean Crose
Although it’s 2021 and not 1997, people still can’t seem to get enough of seeing Mike Tyson facing Evander Holyfield in the ring. An anticipated third battle between the two former heavyweight champions, close to 25 years after their last match, has been widely talked about, as Tyson recently announced that he would be fighting at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium this coming Memorial Day Weekend. What better or more fitting opponent, it was thought, than arch rival Holyfield? Now, however, it appears that the hoped for Memorial Weekend fireworks between these two men, who are far closer to senior citizenship than they are away from it, is nothing more than a dream. For negotiations between the two camps seem to have fallen through.
“Representatives of Evander Holyfield expressed frustration,” Swanson Communication stated in a Monday press statement, “after Mike Tyson’s representatives refused to accept a $25,000,000 guarantee from Team Holyfield to participate in Tyson v Holyfield 3 at the Hard Rock Stadium to kick off Memorial Day weekend.” The statement also claims that serious negotiations were in progress, but that “Team Tyson’s demands recently became untenable, and not what Mike Tyson had originally agreed on in direct conversations with Holyfield.” As of press time, team Tyson had not yet responded.
“We thought this was a done deal but it quickly fell apart when Tyson’s people declined all offers,” Kris Lawrence, Evander Holyfield’s manager, is quoted as saying in the press release. “We were negotiating in good faith all along and it appears we just ended up wasting our time.” With so much money on the line, however, it’s hard to imagine a third fight between the two aging legends not at least being a possibility. For Tyson and Holyfield represent a golden age of boxing, one even fans not alive at the time appear to be nostalgic for.
Then, of course, there’s the controversy. After having been soundly beaten by Holyfield via upset in 1996, Tyson took to gnawing on his foe’s ear during the rematch the following summer. It was a defining moment for the sport of boxing – and not in a good way. Since then, however, Tyson has endeared himself to the public. What’s more, a third match between the two Hall of Fame fighters would provide the kind of novelty entertainment modern audiences clearly crave. Events which would have once been mere curiosities, are now the biggest fights in combat sports.