22 years ago today on October 25, 1990, Evander Holyfield knocked James “Buster” Douglas onto Queer Street in the third round to capture The Ring, WBC, WBA and IBF world heavyweight titles at the Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The then 30-year-old Douglas (38-6-1-1, 25 KOs), who eight months and two weeks earlier as a 42-1 underdog defeated “Iron” Mike Tyson by a 10th round TKO to become the undisputed heavyweight champion in one of the biggest upsets in sports history, entered the squared circle against a 28-year-old Holyfield (42-10-2, 27 KOs) weighing a pathetic 246 pounds.
Predictably, the shredded, 6-foot-2, 208 pound Holyfield, also a past cruiserweight king who captured a bronze medal at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and is ranked as the Greatest Cruiserweight of all time by The Boxing Scene, was too fit and quick for the portly Douglas and the unprepared titleholder was floored and finished with a straight right to the kisser.
Douglas, whose mother, Lula Pearl, died suddenly from a stroke three weeks prior to the famed fistfight against Tyson (50-6-0-2, 44 KOs), immediately retired after the pummeling from “The Real Deal.”
“Buster,” a naturally gifted boxer who squandered his ample talents, subsequently lived off his wealth and ballooned to a despicable 400 pounds.
Roughly nine years after trumping “Iron Mike,” Douglas made a successful comeback by recording a first round TKO over a tomato can by the name of Tony LaRosa.
Douglas’ lackluster sequel mercifully ended after the glutton overcame the immortal Andre Crowder by a fourth round TKO in February 1999 at the Mark Etess Arena in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Comparatively, Holyfield, who has battled boxing legends Lennox Lewis, George Foreman, Tyson, Riddick Bowe and Larry Holmes since turning professional in November 1984, became a four-time heavyweight champ.
Sadly, “The Real Deal,” who has been battered in five of his last 12 bouts, remains a somewhat active prizefighter.
The shopworn native of Atlanta, a financial cripple despite earning millions, who was banned in August 2005 by the New York State Athletic Commission due to “diminishing skills,” hasn’t stepped into the ring since winning a 10th round TKO over Denmark’s Brian Nielsen in July 2011.
Although taking dramatically opposite paths following their clash more than two decades ago, Evander Holyfield and James “Buster” Douglas will forever remain linked.by