. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Holyfield Batters Tyson in 11-Round Shocker

Combined Reports

LAS VEGAS -- Against monumental odds and an apparently invincible foe, Evander Holyfield lifted himself into boxing legend with one of the most dramatic, one-sided upsets in history.

Holyfield was the better man, the baddest man and a battering ram here Saturday night before 16,325 at the MGM Grand Garden arena.

And along the way, he beat up Mike Tyson and shocked the world.

Holyfield left Tyson bloodied, dazed, and finally dangling against the top of the ropes, absorbing blast after blast as referee Mitch Halpern leaped in to stop the bout 37 seconds into the 11th round of the WBA heavyweight bout

It was the fifth fight of Tyson's comeback from a prison term, and only his second loss in 47 fights. Perhaps the only upset more earth-shaking was Tyson's 1990 knockout by Buster Douglas.

It was, with the roars building and Holyfield's shots rumbling through the arena, a piece of destiny.

"With God on your side, the things you choose to do, you can do," said Holyfield, who throughout the weeks before the fight pronounced that his faith in God made him a guaranteed winner over Tyson.

"I hit him with good right-hand shots. He proved his point, he takes a good shot, but I knew I was at my best."

The 34-year-old Holyfield (33-3, 24 knockouts), whose very presence in the ring was questioned because of past health problems, became a heavyweight champion for the third time, a feat accomplished only by Muhammad Ali.

But Tyson wasn't worried about that Saturday.

"I'm OK now," said a still-dazed Tyson, moments after the bout. "Holyfield fought a good fight. I take my hat off to him. I look forward to a rematch."

Beating Tyson to the punch almost from the outset, Holyfield's unyielding power game opened a cut over Tyson's eye in the sixth round, then took him apart in the later rounds.

Halpern almost stopped the fight in the last seconds of the 10th, as Tyson wobbled against the ropes, before letting the bout go on. But Holyfield charged out of the corner at the 11th-round bell, landed monster shots, and soon enough, got the stoppage.

"The man was out," Halpern said. "Mike couldn't make the adjustments. He was about to get knocked down again."

Holyfield was easily ahead on all three judges' cards at the time of the stoppage, and never seemed hurt by Tyson's lunging, looping punches.

"I fought competitively each round, one round at a time," Holyfield said. "There were times that Mike didn't want to fight, and he held, and I got a chance to catch my breath."

Promoter Don King said he would soon be working to try to put together a rematch. "Don't write Tyson off," King said. "We're going to dance again."

Holyfield, who weighed 215 pounds, walked in with "Phillipians 4:13" inscribed on his robe and shorts.

During the national anthem, Tyson stalked around the ring with a hard glare. Holyfield stood calmly in his corner, surrounded by his retinue.

But his stolidness ended once the bell sounded.

Holyfield, standing three inches taller than Tyson and looking larger than that, hit Tyson hard and early and seemed to have the quicker hands. A sizzling Holyfield left hook caught Tyson clean on the chin late in the round, and the two exchanged several punches after the first-round bell.

By the second, Holyfield was dominating the action -- Tyson was missing wildly, and Holyfield was pounding away with quick hooks and crosses.

The closest Tyson came to dominating was a solid combination in the fifth round, when Holyfield began to look tired.

"It was about not giving up," Holyfield said.

The sixth was the pivotal round, and when Holyfield's shots began to take their obvious toll. Early in the round, Tyson began bleeding heavily from his left eyelid, and looked confused.

The two clashed heads in the round, and Tyson claimed that is what caused his cut, or at least one of them.

Then, with 44 seconds left in the round, Holyfield ended an exchange with a left to Tyson's chest, and Tyson toppled onto his back. He was up quickly, but, the end game had begun for Holyfield.

On the undercard, Michael Moorer kept his International Boxing Federation, or IBF, heavyweight title Saturday by pounding out a bruising win over Francois Botha that was stopped early in the final round.

Referee Mills Lane stepped in to wave off the beating with Botha in trouble against the ropes just 18 seconds into the 12th round.

Britain's Henry Akinwande stopped Russia's Alexander Zolkin in the 10th in a successful defense of his World Boxing Organization, or WBO, heavyweight title.

Ricardo Lopez, displaying stunning power for a 105-pounder, stopped Morgan Ndumo of South Africa in the sixth round of his World Boxing Council straw-weight title.

In another title bout preliminary, Antonio Cermeno of Caracas, Venezuela, stopped Eddie Saenz of Nicaragua at the end of the fifth round to retain his World Boxing Association junior featherweight title.

In Manchester, England, Steve Collins of Ireland defended his WBO super-middleweight title with a win over Nigel Benn when the Englishman's corner stopped the fight after six rounds, a loss Benn said would end his career.

Earlier, Britain's Naseem Hamed needed barely two rounds to stop Argentina's Remigio Molina to keep hold of his WBO featherweight title.