Iron Mike Tyson’s Ear Bite Moment
Most remember Mike Tyson for dominating the heavyweight division. That’s a good thing because Tyson deserves our respect as not only a great athlete but also as someone who has become a decent human being.
Before anybody cared about athletes being decent, though, Tyson had his fair share of controversial moments. His most controversial incident inside the ring had to have been the The Great Bite of 1997.
No doubt some soccer fans will argue that Luis Suarez’s Dracula moment against Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil was the “Great Bite”. But, let’s be fair, Suarez is a serial biter. He’s bitten opponents three times.
Serial biters can’t have the “Great Bite” because we must then decide which of the serial bites is more important than the others.
Tyson provided a single, bloody, ridiculously clean, and awesome bite in one of the most important boxing matches in history. Only Iron Mike’s chomp deserves to be called the The Great Bite.
Before getting into the particulars about Tyson’s jaws’ moment, check out the background.
The Great Bite happened in the Tyson vs Holyfield rematch
During the 1990’s, only Evander Holyfield stood toe-to-toe with the great Iron Mike Tyson. An Olympic gold medalist, Holyfield started in the light heavyweight division.
Evander moved up to cruiserweight, beat historically underrated Dwight Muhammad Qawi in two championship bouts, and then moved up to heavyweight.
As a heavyweight, Holyfield fought in one of the classic boxing trilogies of all-time. Evander and Riddick Bowe, the 1988 Olympic silver medalist battled three times. Holyfield won 2-of-3.
While Holyfield fought Bowe, Tyson had regained his WBA Championship after serving a prison sentence.
Iron Mike and Evander fought on November 6, 1996. Although Tyson had some moments early on in the fight, Holyfield wore down the former Baddest Man on the Planet. Eventually, referee Mitch Halpern called the fight in the eleventh.
During the post-fight press conference, the defeated Tyson thanked Holyfield and said, “I have great respect for you.”
Respect goes out the window in Holyfield vs Tyson II
The rematch happened seven months later on June 28, 1997. Evander Holyfield had so thoroughly beaten Mike Tyson that he entered the fight a slight favorite.
Those who backed Evander had to feel good. Early in the fight, in the first two rounds, Holyfield looked dominant. Tyson complained that in those first couple of rounds, Evander was using his head.
Per Tyson, Holyfield had intentionally head butt him. Especially, Iron Mike claimed, in Round 2.
At the beginning of Round 3, Tyson left his stool without his mouthpiece. As he moved forward to the center of the ring, referee Mills “The Judge” Lane told Mike to head back to the corner for his mouthpiece.
What happened next has ended up in sport’s bizarro section. During a clinch, Iron Mike spit out his mouthpiece, and then took a chunk out of Holyfield’s ear.
By chunk, we mean an actual piece of Evander’s ear. Like a zombie from Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, Tyson spit the chunk of ear out of his mouth and to the canvas.
When asked why he bit Holyfield, Tyson said, “He butted me in the second round, and he looked at me and butted me again. No one deducted points. This is my career. What am I supposed to do? I’ve got children to raise. He kept butting me.”
Roy Jones Jr.’s manager takes out “Biting” insurance for upcoming fight
Jones Jr. manager Zsolt Barna won’t leave anything to chance when Iron Mike and Roy “Superman” Jones Jr. battle in an exhibition boxing match on Nov. 28.
Per Barna, he’s taken out an insurance policy against any “possible extraordinary cases”. So, if Tyson bites and the fight doesn’t last the full 8-rounds, Barna and Roy get paid.
Although Tyson won’t bite, we can almost guarantee it, it makes sense that Barna took out the unforeseen circumstances insurance policy.
Both fighters, Iron Mike and Superman, have been told to not go for a knockout. When asked if he will knockout Roy Jones Jr., though, Iron Mike said, “If the opportunity comes, I’m always looking for it.”
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