The next documentary from ESPN Films’ Peabody and Emmy Award-winning 30 for 30 series will be “Chasing Tyson,” premiering tomorrow night, Tuesday, November 10, at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. Directed by the Oscar- and Emmy-nominated filmmaker Steven Cantor, the film examines why so many years went by before Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson finally met in the ring.
Holyfield was a journeyman boxer who had earned respect with victorious bouts against greats like Buster Douglas, Riddick Bowe and George Foreman. He won the heavyweight championship belt four times. But it was Mike Tyson’s outsized personality and ferocious punches that cast a commanding shadow over boxing in the 1980s and ’90s. Even when “Iron Mike” was in prison, the heavyweight division belonged to him. Meanwhile, Holyfield endured years of delay while waiting for the opportunity to take down Tyson.
Though Holyfield dramatically lost and recaptured the heavyweight crown, and then lost it again, even he understood that his career would ultimately be defined by how he stood up to Tyson – if he ever got his chance. By the time of their much-hyped and oft-delayed heavyweight title bout in November of 1996, Holyfield was 34 years old and considered past his prime. Four years younger, Tyson was heavily favored to be standing over another meek and easily vanquished opponent at the end. Instead, the world got not one, but two of the sport’s most memorable fights – for very different reasons.