On This Day – Riddick Bowe wins violent decider against Evander Holyfield in their rubber match


Riddick Bowe
Riddick Bowe gets off the floor to become the first man to stop Evander Holyfield

November 4, 1995; Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, NV
A FITTING finale to the greatest heavyweight rivalry since Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier were trading leather. Bowe, a 3/1 favourite, appeared to be in control of a truly gruelling and brutal affair before being dropped by a huge uppercut from Holyfield in the sixth. It was the first time Bowe had been knocked down in his career. The bout’s other first would be more definitive; in the eighth round Holyfield was decked twice as he was stopped for the first time.

DID YOU KNOW? Bowe was the WBO heavyweight titlist at the time but Holyfield refused to fight for the belt, believing it would damage his ranking with the WBA, WBC and IBF. The New York Daily News presented Bowe with a belt at the end.

WATCH OUT FOR: Co-commentator George Foreman expressing fears about Holyfield, who was on the comeback trail after claiming he had suffered serious cardiac problems while losing to Michael Moorer the year before. With Evander visibly exhausted in the fifth, George says, “This man is going to end up in a pine box. He’s got heart trouble.”

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