Evander Holyfield believes George Foreman and Riddick Bowe have hit harder than heavyweight rival Mike Tyson during his illustrious career.
Holyfield, the former undisputed heavyweight champion, made history by defeating Buster Douglas to become the world heavyweight champion in 1990.
However, in his first defense, he was faced with the dreaded foreman in what was also billed as “the battle of the ages”. Although he faltered several times, Holyfield prevailed and established himself as a true heavyweight.
But the “Real Deal” met its match at Bowe and their heavyweight fight trilogy is a legend. In fact, Holyfield still considers the first man to knock him out to be the biggest puncher he’s ever faced.
“George Foreman hit me with the hardest blow,” Holyfield said in an interview with The 3 Point Conversion.
“But Riddick Bowe hit me more than anyone with big punches.
“By not winning my first fight with Riddick Bowe, I was kind of inspired by the people who said, ‘Damn it’s one thing if you hit him, he won’t stop coming.’
“I always remember it was the inspiration that I could take something, everyone was like, ‘what’s going to happen if he gets hit by a big guy?’
“I guess the first heavyweight fight that was really a little bit tough was when I fought Michael Dokes. But after Michael Dokes, I grew a little bit into hanging out with guys who were taller and had a little more experience than me.
“Once I knew I could be hurt… I remember that at one point I thought I could never be hurt because it never happened to me.
“But the first time Bert Cooper caught me with a shot, they gave me my first count of eight, and then I realized, ‘wow’. “When he hit me I didn’t see the shot, all I remember was my legs were elastic, I realized but I was never hurt again before I fought against Riddick Bowe.
“The art of the game is that you are only touched when you do something wrong. So even sometimes you can get away with it, you do something wrong and the guy didn’t swing so you’re kinda thankful.
“Either you are able to hit the guy or the guy is able to punch you. Either you hit the guy or you move, if you don’t hit the guy and move, there’s a good chance you’d blow yourself up.
“If you miss the guy but move around, you tend to miss yourself.”
It was Holyfield who missed Mike Tyson in their moody fights in 1996 and 1997, stopping “Iron Mike” in round 11 of their first fight.
However, the rematch ended in controversy when Tyson BIT had both ears of the champion before being disqualified.
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