Holyfield And Moorer: Pound For Pound Fighters Rarely Mentioned

By Tom Donelson
Updated: September 10, 2006

NEW YORK — When discussing great pound for pound fighters, Evander Holyfield is rarely mentioned in the debate. Yet, Holyfield was not just a great Heavyweight but he was the premier Cruiserweight before becoming a heavyweight. As a Heavyweight fighter, he was one of the best of his generation.

As a cruiserweight, Holyfield was the first true superstar of that division. His domination of the division began when he took a split decision over Dwight Muhammad Qawi for the WBA Cruiserweight championship.

Qawi, an excellent light heavyweight before moving up to snatch the cruiserweight championship, was tough swarming fighter.

Holyfield fought for the Cruiserweight championship in only his twelfth fight. After defeating Qawi, Holyfield proceeded to unite the title. In quick order, Holyfield knocked out Ricky Parker, Henry Tillman, Ossie Ocasio, Qawi in a rematch, and Carlos De Leon.

He wiped out the division and leaving one goal for Holyfield — the Heavyweight championship.

Holyfield inaugurated his drive toward the heavyweight championship by defeating James “Quick” Tillis with a fifth round knockout. The rest is history.

Throughout Holyfield career, he was consistently the smaller fighter and yet, his heart and toughness allowed him to persevere. Against Foreman, he was outweighed by nearly fifty pounds but Holyfield stood his ground and fought the hard punching Foreman toe-to-toe.

At his best, Holyfield was one of boxing best warriors and this fighter was great in not just one division, but also two.

Another under appreciated fighter was Michael Moorer. Before making his mark as a Heavyweight, Moorer dominated the WBO version of the light heavyweight division. While he never united the light heavyweight, he was a knockout machine. Every 175-pound fighter he faced ended up on the canvas and never saw the end of the fight.

Moorer’s first great moment as a fighter was his defeat of, ironically, Evander Holyfield. Despite an early knock down, Moorer came back in the second half of the fight and upset Holyfield.

The one fight that defined Moorer was not his upset of Holyfield but his lost to Foreman in first title defense. Going into the tenth round, Moorer was dominating Foreman. Moorer ran into a Foreman sledgehammer right hand in the tenth, thus ending his first championship run..

Moorer would recapture the IBF version of the heavyweight title when he scored a close split decision over Axel Schultz.

Evander Holyfield and Michael Moorer fought a second time for the combined WBA/IBF title. Holyfield gained revenge when he stopped Moorer in the eighth round.

Moorer took a three year layoff before coming back but he was not the same fighter and his career effectively ended when Eliseo Castillo scored an easy decision.

His last fight was a victory over former cruiserweight champion Vasslily Jirov with a ninth round knockout. Going into the ninth round, Moorer was behind on all cards but a Moorer knockout wiped out the early Jirov lead.

Both men captured championships in two separate divisions, including the Heavyweight championship. Both men captured one fight from each other and showed that indeed they were great pound for pound fighters.