Evander Holyfield, nicknamed “The Real Deal,” is an American former professional boxer known as the cruiserweight champion of the late 1980s and the heavyweight of the early 1990s. Holyfield is currently the only four-time world heavyweight champion.
Holyfield was born in Atmore, Alabama, the youngest of nine children. He was raised in the housing projects of Atlanta, where he began boxing at age 7. By 15, Holyfield had become the Southeastern Regional Champion, and at 20 years old, he won the silver medal at the 1983 Pan American Games in Caracas, Venezuela. He went on to win a bronze medal at the Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles just a year later.
At 21, Holyfield went professional, moving up to cruiserweight and winning his first world championship in 1986 against Dwight Muhammad Qawi. He became the undisputed cruiserweight champion shortly afterward, defeating Ricky Parkey and Carlos de Leon for the WBC and IBF titles. Moving up to the heavyweight category in 1988, Holyfield defeated Buster Douglas and subsequently became the undisputed heavyweight champion. Holyfield thrice defended his titles againt the likes of George Foreman and Larry Holmes, before his first loss to Riddick Bowe in 1992. He redeemed himself against Bowe the following year, but eventually lost his titles to Michael Moorer in 1994.
In 1996, Holyfield reclaimed the WBA title upon defeating Mike Tyson, a fight which was named Fight of the Year by The Ring magazine. This fight made Holyfield the first boxer to take home a world heavyweight title three times since Muhammad Ali. Tyson was defeated once again in 1997, and disqualified for biting Holyfield’s ears. Following this match, Holyfield also reclaimed the IBF title after avenging his loss to Michael Moorer. In 2000, he defeated John Ruiz for the WBA title, becoming the first boxer in history to win a version of the heavyweight title four times.
Retiring in 2014, Holyfield founded Real Deal Records, was featured in advertising campaigns for Coca-Cola and Diet Coke, and made various television appearances on shows such as Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Phineas and Ferb, and Dancing with the Stars, on which he placed fifth.
Holyfied is ranked the 22nd greatest fighter in history by The Ring, and is ranked by BoxingScene as the greatest cruiserweight of all time. He is regularly booking for speaking engagements and corporate entertainment events.