Dwight Muhammad Qawi vs. Evander Holyfield was billed as “Pandemonium“….and was contested on July 12, 1986 for the WBA cruiserweight championship.
After his defeat by Michael Spinks in March 1983 in a bout for the Undisputed Light Heavyweight Championship….Dwight Muhammad Qawi had been set for a rematch with Spinks in September 1984, however, after Qawi was injured three weeks before the fight and had to pull out….he then decided to move up to the new Cruiserweight division….after which in July 1985, he knocked out Piet Crous to win the WBA cruiserweight title. After making one successful defense against former Undisputed Heavyweight Champion Leon Spinks (brother of Michael)….e agreed to face Evander Holyfield.
1984 Olympic bronze medalist Evander Holyfield begain his pro career fighting in the Light Heavyweight division before setting himself the goal of unifying the Cruiserweight division as a prelude to becoming a Heavyweight. He was attempting to become the first boxer from the 1984 Olympic boxing team to win a world title. There were no knockdowns in his fight with Qawi….but the fight was close and competitive with Holyfield outworking and out landing Qawi in punch counts…..whereby, two judges, Harold Lederman and Neffie Quintana scored the bout for Holyfield 144-140 and 147-138 respectively….while the third judge Gordon Volkman scored it for Qawi 143-141 giving Holyfield a split decision victory….and his first world title….as this fight would be named the best cruiserweight fight of the 1980’s by Ring Magazine….as well as “One of the last great fifteen round title bouts”.
Holyfield would go on to unifiy the WBA and IBF titles by knocking out Rickey Parkey in three rounds….which was followed by him easily beating Muhammad Qawi in a rematch in December 1987….as he would then become the first Undisputed Cruiserweight Champion by stopping Carlos de León the following April….after which Holyfield quickly moved up to the heavyweight division….whereas, Qawi would spend most of the rest of his career as a cruiserweight…..while having one more unsuccessful bid to reclaim a world title before finally retiring in 1999.
ABC’s Frank Gifford provides the an indepth view of the highlights of this fantastic boxing match….along with interviews after the fight.