Evander Holyfield vs Dwight Muhammad Qawi I – Highlights (Cruiserweight CLASSIC)

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July 12th, 1986. In a fight billed as “Pandemonium”, Evander Holyfield aka “The Real Deal” challenged reigning WBA World Cruiserweight Champion “The Camden Buzzsaw” Dwight Muhammad Qawi (formerly known as Dwight Braxton).

Prefight records; Holyfield 11(8)-0, Qawi 26(15)-2-1.

Qawi at this time was World Champion both at Light Heavyweight & Cruiserweight.

In December 1981, Qawi won the WBC World Light Heavyweight Title from Matthew Saad Muhammad and defended the title 3 times consecutively before losing to Michael Spinks in March 1983. After this loss, he moved up to Cruiserweight.

Qawi became a 2 weight World Champion in July 1985 when he defeated Piet Crous via KO11 to capture the WBA World Cruiserweight Championship. After successfully retaining his title for the 1st time against Leon Spinks in March 1986, he was set to take on the No. 1 contender, the undefeated 23 year old Holyfield for his 2nd defense.

At this time, Qawi had beaten notable oppositions such as Eddie Davis, Michael Greer, James Scott, Piet Crous, Mike Rossman, Leon Spinks, Lee Roy Murphy & Matthew Saad Muhammad (2x).

On the other hand, the unbeaten Evander Holyfield had wins over Chisanda Mutti & Tyrone Booze.

Up to this point, Holyfield had only fought 8 full rounds once (against Tyrone Booze). Qawi on the other hand had 12 fights that lasted 10 rounds or more.

From the opening to the final bell, the fight was explosive and action packed. Although there were no knockdowns, it was an amazingly competitive fight in which Holyfield largely chose to trade with Qawi in the pocket and on the ropes where he was most dangerous, even though Holyfield was more efficient boxing from a distance which he did in several occasions during the bout.

Both fighters had their best moments to-and-fro; the combination of Qawi’s experience and Holyfield’s youth resulted in one of the best fights in pugilistic history!

After 45 minutes of explosive action, Holyfield became the new WBA World Cruiserweight Champion via SD with scores of 144-140, 147-138 & 141-143.

** Qawi was warned multiple times for low blows by referee Vincent Rainone but there were no point deductions.

With this victory, Holyfield became the 1st of the United States boxing medalists from the 1984 Olympics to become World Champion as a pro.

This is one of the greatest fights that lasted the 15 round distance along the likes of Muhammad Ali vs Earnie Shavers, Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier I, Larry Holmes vs Ken Norton, Roberto Duran vs Sugar Ray Leonard I, Tony Canzoneri vs. Kid Chocolate I, Henry Armstrong vs Lou Ambers I, Willie Pep vs Sandy Saddler II & Sugar Ray Robinson vs Carmen Basilio I & II.

The Ring ranked Holyfield-Qawi I as the Best Cruiserweight Fight of the 1980s as well as one of the Greatest World Title Fights of All Time.

In April 1988, Evander Holyfield became the First Undisputed Cruiserweight Champion of the World beating Carlos de León via TKO8. With this victor, he held the IBF, WBA & WBC Cruiserweight Crowns.

3 months later, he moved up to the Heavyweight division where he would achieve tremendous success.

Enjoy this highlight of a classic, not-to-be-missed championship bout! Remember to subscribe, boxing heads!

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