It’s a topic they’ve danced around at times and the latest two-step comes from Evander Holyfield, who says he would be game to face Mike Tyson a third time “if he wants to.”
Their combined age may be 110, but both men are in fighting shape and are planning to fight for charity, which makes it all the more natural that they might face one another again.
Holyfield, 57, won both previous heavyweight bouts in the 1990s, including the 1997 fight in which Tyson was disqualified for biting a chunk out of Holyfield’s ear.
Holyfield said he’d be up to go three rounds with Tyson but is reluctant to bring it up.
“If I ask him, it’s almost like me being a bully saying I want to go against somebody I’ve beaten twice,” he said on BBC Radio’s 5 Live.
Holyfield, who retired in 2014, scored a technical knockout of Denmark’s Brian Nielsen in the last of his 57 professional bouts in 2011. Tyson, 53, was the prodigy who became the youngest world heavyweight champion at the age of 20 and he last fought professionally in 2005, losing for only the sixth time in 58 bouts (to Kevin McBride).
As for facing Tyson a third time, Holyfield explained, “I don’t want pressure on me that ‘you just want to fight Mike because you know you can beat him.’ If he hits me I’m gonna hit you back, that’s what boxing is really about. I’m gonna be 58, he’ll be 54, you talk about being in good health and doing things the proper way that respects it.
“Anybody that I get in the ring with, if I’m in there with my brother, if he tag me, I’m gonna tag him back. If you don’t want me to throw bombs, you’d better not throw no bombs.”
Tyson seems willing to go a few rounds with Holyfield. “That would be awesome for charity,” Tyson said last week on “TMZ Live.” “Can you imagine me and him going in the ring together? . . . I’m in good shape. I feel really good.”
And fighting Holyfield for charity “could help a lot of people that’s in need for help.”
For a generation, Holyfield and Tyson were iconic names, even if memories of their talent have faded over the years. Holyfield said his motivation is inspiring young people.
“Taking care of yourself, listen to your momma, listen to your father. When you become an adult you don’t just say all that stuff my parents told me don’t work. The reason you made it this far is because of these things your parents told you. I had good parents and a good coach.”