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By Maloney L. Samaco

Tue, 27 Jan 2009

As posted by The National on January 26, 2009, talks are underway for a third match between former world heavyweight champions Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. According to Hydra Properties chief executive Sulaiman al Fahim, one of the proponents of the transaction, plans are still under conciliation but the fight is expected to happen in October.

Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC), the government body regulating sport, has yet to approve of the proposed revival of one of the most bizarre fights in the history of boxing. Tyson, 42 and Holyfield, 46 are both keen on the proposal, according to their respective camps.

Tyson-Holyfield I, also known as ?Finally,? was fought on November 9, 1996 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was No. 4 box-office PPV hit in history with 1.59 million buys. Tyson was defending his undisputed world heavyweight title against Holyfield, who was 34 at the time of the fight and a great underdog.

With Tyson severely beaten, the referee stopped the fight in the eleventh canto, giving Holyfield one of the most famous upset victories in fight history. Holyfield also became the first person since Muhammad Ali to win a heavyweight championship belt three times, although unlike Ali, Holyfield shared it with George Foreman who got a piece of the title at that time.

The Holyfield-Tyson rematch on June 28, 1997 is the second largest pay-per-view selling fight in the record of live boxing telecast with 1.99 million PPV buys, surpassed only by the Oscar de la Hoya-Floyd Mayweather, Jr. match. It was also known as ?The Bite Fight? of ?Bite of the Century.? Tyson bit off a piece of Holyfield's ear in the fight which was originally dubbed as Holyfield-Tyson II, ?The Sound and the Fury.?

The fight happened at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada and was stopped at the end of the third round, with Tyson disqualified for biting Holyfield on both ears. One bite was brutal enough to remove a portion of Holyfield's right ear, which was found on the ring canvas after the fight.

Tyson later declared that it was a retribution for Holyfield?s repetitively head butting him without penalty. Tyson's boxing license was revoked by the Nevada State Athletic Commission and he was fined $3 million and other penalties. But a little more than a year on October 18, 1998, the commission voted 4-1 to reinstate Tyson's boxing license.

The plan, if it would push through, is just a promotional boxing gimmick to ignite the world?s interest on the second and third leading PPV boxing earners. Both boxers were only exceeded by de la Hoya in PPV income. Both Tyson and Holyfield, already in the sunset of their careers, could somehow let boxing fans remember the most violent boxing encounter in modern fight history.

Top photo: Mike Tyson (L) bites Holyfield's ear during their second encounter on June 28, 1997 at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

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