This Day in Black History: June 28, 1997

Mike Tyson bites the ear of boxing opponent Evander Holyfield during a match.

Posted: 06/28/2014 12:00 AM EDT

The life and career of heavyweight boxing champ Mike Tyson is riddled with highs and lows. But on June 28, 1997, during a rematch with champion boxer Evander Holyfield, Tyson reached a new low when he bit his opponent's ear not once, but twice.

Tyson's path to stardom was swift and, at age 19, he became the youngest heavyweight champion in boxing history in 1986 in a match against Trevor Berbick. But just a few years later, he was accused of domestic violence against his wife, actress Robin Givens, whom he divorced; fired both his manager and his trainer; and reportedly tried to commit suicide. He also was accused of raping Desiree Washington after judging a beauty pageant she'd competed in. After being convicted in 1992, he served three years and one month in prison.

On Nov. 9, 1996, Tyson met retired heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield in the ring and, in a surprise to fans and perhaps even himself, Holyfield knocked out Tyson in the 11th round.

It was during their rematch the following year that Tyson made his infamous move. Completely frustrated by a head-butt that resulted in a cut over his right eye and the crowd shouting "Holyfield! Holyfield!," Tyson bit off a chunk of his opponent's right ear. When the fight resumed, he bit the other ear, which disqualified him.

Seventeen years later, Holyfield has a bit of a sense of humor about the incident. After Luis Suarez, a member of Uruguay's World Cup soccer team, bit three of his opponents, Holyfield wrote in a Twitter post, "I guess any part of the body is up for eating."

Tyson, who was trending on Twitter after Suarez's actions, was perhaps less amused. In an interview on The David Glen Show, the former champion said, "He bit someone, it happens. I am sure he will make amends with this guy," just as he did with Holyfield.

Follow Joyce Jones on Twitter: @BETpolitichick.

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(Photo: Steve Marcus /Landov/REUTERS)

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