On Wednesday night (Oct. 28) in midtown Manhattan, the lights of the Paley Center of Media dims, the screen readies, and the story of the only four-time heavyweight champion of professional boxing is shared amongst sports fans to know the man behind the gloves: Evander Holyfield.
In the latest installment of ESPN’s 30 for 30 film series, the documentary titled Chasing Tyson takes us back to the legendary ups and downs of the career of Iron Mike and how he dominated the world of professional boxing. But part of the discussion was a young man who caught the world of sports off guard and gunned for Tyson’s throne. A kid hailing from Atlanta, Ga. who considered himself a “momma’s boy” and never caused any trouble while growing up made his way onto the boxing scene. His name was Evander Holyfield.
The decorated athlete opens up about his poor background in the reel and tells viewers how he grew up in the ghetto, but what fueled him to fight during his early years was being teased for being illiterate in school. The constant vocal provoking led to Holyfield’s need to fight, but the wise words from his mom was what he kept in the back of his mind. “Be at peace once you don’t listen to what people say. They don’t control your destiny. You do.”
Distilling the family values that he learned along the way and keeping them with him in the journey of his career labeled Holyfield as “boring” or “too much of a good guy” and caused his many accomplishments to be overlooked especially in a world ruled by Mike. But Holyfield had his eyes steadily on the prize as he wasn’t chasing titles, but he was chasing Tyson. After Mike experienced multiple legal setbacks and Holyfield’s health issues, a five-year wait was finally put to rest, as a highly anticipated Nov. 9, 1996 matchup was set between the two where Holyfield proved his theory that “good guys can fight too.”
Don’t worry, sports fans. Director Steven Cantor had the infamous ear-biting rematch between Tyson and Holyfield covered as well when he cites the main reason behind him wanting to bring the story into visual format. Canter also credited Holyfield on being a humble, easily approachable sports figure to base the film on. So gear up to watch the ultimate good guy versus bad guy story on two of the most legendary names in professional boxing when ESPN Films: 30 for 30 presents Chasing Tyson airs Nov. 10 on ESPN at 8 p.m.