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Evander Holyfield is adamant George Foreman and Riddick Bowe have hit harder than heavyweight rival Mike Tyson during his illustrious boxing career.

Holyfield went from undisputed cruiserweight champion to world heavyweight champion in 1990 when he defeated Buster Douglas for the crown.

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Foreman injured Holyfield in their world heavyweight title fight

However, in his first defense, he was faced with the dreaded Foreman in what has been billed as “The Battle of the Ages”. Although he faltered on several occasions, Holyfield prevailed and established himself as a true heavyweight.

But the “Real Deal” met its match at Bowe and their heavyweight fight trilogy is legendary. In fact, Holyfield still considers the first man to knock him out to be the biggest puncher he’s ever faced.

“George Foreman hit me with the hardest punch,” Holyfield said in an interview with The 3 Point Conversion.

“But Riddick Bowe hit me more than anyone with big punches.

Evander Holyfield once said that George Foreman and Riddick Bowe are the toughest punchers he’s faced in the boxing ring, not Mike Tyson

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Bowe and Holyfield have shared the ring three times, the latter winning once

“By not winning my first fight with Riddick Bowe, I was kind of inspired by the people who were like, ‘Damn it’s one thing if you hit him, he won’t stop coming.’

“I always remember it was an inspiration that I could take something, everyone was like, ‘what’s going to happen if he gets hit by a fat guy?’

“I guess the first heavyweight fight that was really a bit taxing was when I fought Michael Dokes. But after Michael Dokes, I kind of learned to hang out with guys who are bigger and had a little more experience than me.

“Once I knew I could be hurt… I remember at one point I thought I could never be hurt because it never happened to me.

Evander Holyfield once said that George Foreman and Riddick Bowe are the toughest punchers he’s faced in the boxing ring, not Mike Tyson

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Tyson had surpassed his best by the time he fought Holyfield for the first time in 1996

“But the first time Bert Cooper caught me with a gunshot [in 1991], they gave me my first count of eight, and then I realized, ‘wow’. “When he hit me I didn’t see the hit, all I remember was my legs were elastic, I realized, but I never hurt myself again until that I fight Riddick Bowe.

“The art of the game is that you are only touched when you do something wrong. So even sometimes you can get by, you do something wrong and the guy didn’t swing so you’re kinda thankful.

“Either you are able to hit the guy or the guy is able to punch you. Either you hit the guy or you move, if you don’t hit the guy and move, there’s a good chance you will blow yourself up.

“If you miss the guy but move around you tend to miss the guy.”

It was Holyfield who missed Mike Tyson in their moody fights in 1996 and 1997, stopping “Iron Mike” in the 11th round of their first fight when he was the underdog.

However, the rematch ended in controversy when Tyson BIT both ears of the champion before being disqualified.

Holyfield lace up his gloves again as he prepares for a game against UFC veteran Vitor Belfort.

Few are happy that the aging legend was allowed to fight and there were concerns when he was filmed during recent training about his suitability.

However, whether this will count in his case is up to the man himself, says broacaster Triller.

“If Holyfield doesn’t want this to happen on his BoxRec because of his age, we’ll allow him to make the decision and follow all the other rules,” co-founder Ryan Kavanaugh told ESPN.

“For now, the fighters are comfortable with the situation and we will review that over the next few days to decide. We spoke to Holyfield and Vitor and the commission; Either way, it will be marked as a pro fight, there will be a clear winner and it will be treated with pro rules.

Evander Holyfield once said that George Foreman and Riddick Bowe are the toughest punchers he’s faced in the boxing ring, not Mike Tyson

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Foreman surprised more than one in the full 12 laps with ‘The Real Deal’




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