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35 years ago

Evander Holyfield vs Michael Dokes

Evander Holyfield vs Michael Dokes

Date: 11th March 1989

Venue: Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada

Title: WBC Continental Americas Heavyweight Title

Promoter: Main Events

Tv: Showtime Championship Boxing

Evander Holyfield
( 20 - 0 - 0 )
Weight: 208 lbs

Michael Dokes
( 37 - 1 - 2 )
Weight: 225 lbs

On March 11, 1989, rising heavyweight contender Evander Holyfield faced former WBA champion Michael Dokes in a highly anticipated clash at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. The fight, billed as "A Date with Destiny," was seen as a stepping stone for the winner to secure a title shot against undisputed heavyweight champion Mike Tyson.

Holyfield, who had only fought twice as a heavyweight, entered the ring as a 3-1 favourite despite Dokes' experience and recent success in the division. Dokes, the reigning WBC Continental Americas Heavyweight Champion, had mounted an impressive comeback after battling drug addiction, going undefeated in eight fights since his return in late 1987.

From the opening bell, the two fighters engaged in a fierce and closely contested battle. Dokes charged at Holyfield, focusing on attacking the body, while Holyfield sought to counter effectively. In the third round, Dokes landed several clean power punches to Holyfield's head, but Holyfield began to take control in the sixth round, opening a cut above Dokes' left eye that would trouble him for the remainder of the fight.

The end came suddenly in the tenth round when Holyfield landed two consecutive left hooks that sent Dokes staggering into the ropes. Holyfield followed up with a hard right to Dokes' head, prompting referee Richard Steele to intervene and stop the fight as Dokes fell to his knees. At 1:41 of the round, a technical knockout declared Holyfield the winner.

Despite the victory, which earned Holyfield the top ranking in both the WBA and WBC, a highly anticipated match with Mike Tyson failed to materialise. Instead, Tyson's promoter, Don King, initially announced plans for Tyson to face Dokes. However, negotiations broke down due to disagreements over Dokes' purse, leading King to arrange a fight between Tyson and Donovan "Razor" Ruddock.

Holyfield, meanwhile, went on to defend his Continental Americas heavyweight title against Brazilian prospect Adílson Rodrigues, scoring a second-round knockout in his first defence.

The Holyfield-Dokes fight, which The Ring magazine named the best heavyweight fight of the 1980s, showcased the talent, determination, and exciting style that would define Holyfield's career as he ascended to the top of the heavyweight division. The win over Dokes was a crucial step in Holyfield's journey towards eventually capturing the undisputed heavyweight title.

Evander Holyfield vs Michael Dokes on YouTube

Evander Holyfield vs Michael Dokes

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