BEST BUDDIES: Holyfield, left, and Tyson promote sauce in Chicago
OVER FIFTEEN years ago heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson stunned the world when he bit a chunk off Evander Holyfield’s ear during a match.
Yet the events of June 1997 now seem like water under the bridge as the pugilist pair got together last Saturday (February 16) to promote Holyfield’s new line of barbeque sauce in a Chicago grocery store.
50-year-old Holyfield, a former undisputed world champion in both cruiserweight and heavyweight divisions, would have been forgiven for appearing slightly nervous about Tyson coming in for the hug and putting those teeth near to his ear.
However, there was no repeat of the infamous scenes ringside at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, almost 16 years prior, where Tyson lost all control and launched an attack culminating in Holyfield losing a piece of his earlobe.
Instead it was smiles all round, and the 46-year-old Tyson, also an undisputed world heavy champion, was keen to lend his support to his old enemy’s Real Deal sauce – plus it was not a bad way to say sorry.
The former boxer, who has made forays into the film world such as his appearance in the comedy movie The Hangover, seemed more than happy to be at Holyfield’s side.
MIND THE EAR: Holyfield receives a Tyson bear hug
“I just wanted to see Evander, man. I love Evander. I'm forever linked with him for the rest of my life”, Tyson said.
The man who did the biting a decade and half ago has been keeping himself busy since he hung up his gloves. Apart from launching his own range of boxing apparel, Tyson was in Chicago for his one-man stage show, which portrays his rise and fall in the sport.
The show will feature on Broadway and then will tour 36 cities. It also documents the moment Tyson decided Holyfield’s ear could be a tasty ringside snack.
Holyfield backed Tyson’s new portrayal of his controversial life story. “The show is good”, the former pro boxer-turned sauce maker said.
“The show is showing his way of coming back, being able to come to an agreement, come to an acknowledgment of what he'd done good and what he'd done wrong and to get over it. When people don't get past their problems, they never come to an understanding.
“I think he was letting people know that he was wrong and what happened, happened. He appreciates that I forgave him. He's forgiven himself. That's how you make adjustments in life”, added Holyfield, who retained his WBA Heavyweight title when Tyson was disqualified for biting his ear.
OUT OF CONTROL: The infamous match in 1997 when Tyson bit Holyfield's ear