About 30 minutes after Evander Holyfield had dismantled one of his old roommates from the 1984 Olympic team….the inevitable question was shouted out at the post-fight news conference….after all, Holyfield’s destruction-derby performance against Henry Tillman at Reno’s Bally Grand Hotel was the most impressive display of punching power anyone has seen lately….with the exception of every one of Mike Tyson’s fights at the time, of course.
“Evander,” someone shouted, “what about Tyson, down the road?”….with the response by Holyfield, trainer Lou Duva and physical conditioning consultant Tim Hallmark that indicated Holyfield is at least a year away from moving up to the heavyweight division. He weighed 188 1/2 when he knocked down the 189-pound Tillman four times to easily retain his WBA junior heavyweight championship.
The fight was stopped at 1:43 of the seventh round….after Tillman went down for the third time in the round….since Nevada’s three-knockdown rule was in effect. The question then became….can Holyfield get any more fights in the division? As a junior heavyweight (or cruiserweight, as the World Boxing Council calls the 190-to-195-pound class)….there just simply was not any prime-time opponent. Carlos DeLeon, the WBC champ? Yawn. Rickey Parkey, the International Boxing Federation champ? Yawn. A rematch with Dwight Qawi, from whom Holyfield won his title last year? Yawn. Nevertheless, bring ’em on, Duva said, in the aftermath of Holyfield’s most impressive showing yet, and possibly the most impressive showing by any member of the Olympic class of ’84.
This in-ring post fight interview by ABC’s Alex Wallau provides sufficient evidence of the fact that The Real Deal was ready for the heavyweight division….which was soon to come.