Evander Holyfield UD 12 George Foreman, April 19, 1991, Convention Center, Atlantic City, N.J.: Holyfield was the undisputed heavyweight titleholder and coming off a third-round stoppage of Mike Tyson-conqueror James “Buster” Douglas. Foreman had stopped 23 of 24 opponents during his comeback, including Dwight Muhammad Qawi, Cooney and Bert Cooper.
“People say that Evander Holyfield was an undersized heavyweight, and they still do. But if you look at Holyfield from the waist up, he’s a linebacker. He just doesn’t have anything from the hips down. So to me, he was always like a bonafide heavyweight,” said Buffer.
“Holyfield was unbeaten in 25 fights and had fought six or seven fights as a heavyweight, all of them by knockout. If you hit Holyfield, he would hit you back five times.”
Buffer recalls Foreman having what he called “a pretty good fifth round.”
“I remember he landed a body shot under the arm pit of Holyfield, and Holyfield told me years later that he was numb from his arm pit to his ankle and literally couldn’t feel anything walking back to his corner,” said Buffer.
“So at the age of 42, Foreman wasn’t involved in the greatest fight in heavyweight history, but it was a damn good one. It was just another great moment and another great night where they squeezed something like 19,000 people into that arena.”
Riddick Bowe UD 12 Evander Holyfield, November 13, 1992, Thomas & Mack, Las Vegas: The gladiators met in a clash of unbeatens, the 6-foot-5, 235-pound Bowe having 30 pounds and nearly three inches in height over the WBA, WBC and IBF heavyweight titleholder Holyfield in their first bout of a trilogy.
The 25-year-old Bowe floored Holyfield in the final round to clinch a unanimous decision. The 30-year-old Holyfield dropped to 28-1 with 22 stoppages.
“If ever somebody wanted to take a film of a fight and recreate it punch-for-punch for the Hollywood screen, this is one fight that people would look at and wonder if the fight was real. They would trade punches and trade moments and Bowe eventually started to dominate. But that had to be one of the top five or six, action-packed heavyweight title fights of all time,” said Buffer.
“That was one of the best fights that I’ve ever seen, and, maybe, one of Holyfield’s best fights in losing. It was an unbelievable fight. I don’t think that on that night there is a heavyweight fighter in history who could have beaten Riddick Bowe on that night. From his stance, his timing and his defense and ability to take a punch and his ability to come back from being hit, Riddick Bowe was flawless. There is no doubt about it, he was the best heavyweight in the world at that time. Just a brilliant fight.”
George Foreman KO 10 Michael Moorer, November 5, 1994, MGM Grand, Las Vegas: Moorer was 35-0, with 30 knockouts, having dethroned Holyfield by majority decision in his previous bout for the WBA and IBF belts. Foreman already had lost to Holyfield, was ending a 17-month layoff and coming off a unanimous decision loss to Tommy Morrison that ended a three-bout winning streak.
“What I remember clearly was that there was a millisecond of silence that seemed like an hour when Michael Moorer was going down to the ground. And then, there was a roar. It was like that touchdown bomb that lands in that college championship game, or that buzzer-beater or that thing that you just never forget, and that was one of them,” said Buffer.
“Not that it was the best fight that I had ever seen, or that it was in the top 25 fights in history, but that was a real moment when George landed those four punches, a one-two, and a one-two, and the last one just totally knocked Michael out.”
Foreman’s triumph, at the age of 45, .made him the oldest man to win a significant world boxing title.
“This was a man who was trying to win 20 years between titles, and he pulled it off. I had known Michael Moorer since he was like 19, and he was a terrific, dynamite fighter, and I knew his whole family and his mother,” said Buffer.
“So as thrilling as that was, I actually thought that I was going to burst into tears of joy and heartbreak at the same time. That’s how heartbreaking as that was, because I liked both guys. It was a spectacular moment. My announcement was something like, ‘The impossible dream has happened. Heavyweight history has happened.’ Just a great moment.”