Mike Tyson And Lennox Lewis Both Name Same Boxing Legend As The Toughest Opponent In Their Careers
And the 'Lion' walked away from the super-fight with the ultimate bragging rights after he KO'd 'Iron' Mike in the eighth round.
Before Lewis and Tyson traded blows with one another, both heavyweight legends crossed paths with Holyfield in the 1990s.
Tyson clashed with Holyfield in back-to-back fights in 1996 and 1997, with the rematch ending in a DQ after 'Iron' Mike's notorious ear bite.
Speaking to The Ring Magazine, the 'Baddest Man on the Planet' explained why Holyfield stood out as the best overall boxer he faced in his illustrious fighting career.
"Great champion: chin, heart, determination, work ethic, demeanor," the 54-year-old said.
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Lewis, meanwhile, stepped into the squared circle with Holyfield in March 1999 before having the rematch in November of that year.
The 54-year-old picked up a draw in their first encounter at Madison Square Garden, but Lewis would ultimately win by unanimous decision in the second fight.
Posting on Instagram, Lewis extensively outlined the reasons for why he held Holyfield in high regards and why he named him as his toughest opponent of all time.
"People seem to be genuinely surprised when I tell them [Holyfield] was my toughest opponent, not to be confused with my toughest fight, which was [Ray] Mercer, but when you really dive into why that is, it actually makes a lot of sense," he said.
"Holyfield, like me, has an extensive amateur pedigree that has served him well throughout his professional career.
"He started boxing at eight years old and was an Olympic bronze medalist in 1984. Before he moved up to the heavyweight division, he's a man that cleared out the cruiserweight division to become the undisputed champion, and arguably the best ever, in that weight class.
"That's a lot of experience and it's safe to say that by the time we met for the undisputed heavyweight championship in 1999, he had seen it all.
"When you combine Evander's amateur and professional experience, you would be hard pressed not to see the kind of success he's had in the ring.
"I may tease him a bit on our two fights, he knows I won both fights even though he won't admit it, but in all seriousness, he's the only man that has gone 24 rounds with me."
Featured Image Credit: PA
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