That got me to thinking about Evander Holyfield. I’m not talking about the Evander Holyfield that took fifth place on “Dancing with the Stars” in 2005. I’m talking about Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield, the former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.
I covered many of Holyfield’s fights in the 1990s. I was at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas the night Holyfield stunned the world with his 11th-round knockout of Mike Tyson in 1996. I was back at the MGM Grand seven months later when Tyson became so frustrated by Holyfield’s dominance that he bit a chunk of Holyfield’s ear off and spit it on the canvas before getting disqualified in the third round. I actually interviewed the janitor that had the chunk of Holyfield’s ear in an ice chest. It was bizarre. I won’t even get into the hearing where Tyson went before the Nevada State Athletic Commission to try to get his boxing license back. That was even more bizarre.
I once went to a Holyfield workout where he spent 90 minutes stretching. He wasn’t big on sparring as he got older. I used to call him the undisputed stretching champion of the world.
Holyfield was always open to the media, kind to the fans and a warrior inside the ring. He was “The Real Deal.”
Game of the night: JSerra at Buena Park, 7 p.m.
Why you should care:Third-year Coyotes coach Anthony White has turned things around at Buena Park, building a sense of family and dedication to winning among his players. They have bought in to what White is preaching and now the Coyotes are going in search of a signature victory to elevate the program. Is Buena Park the real deal? That’s what we’ll find out when the Coyotes play JSerra, a young Trinity League team on the rise. Buena Park is 3-0, but its first three opponents are winless. JSerra is 2-0.
The Coyotes run a pro-style offense that is extremely explosive with running back Deven Boston, who has rushed for a county high 824 yards and 14 TDs, and Hakeem “The Dream” Williams. The Lions are coming off a 20-13 victory over a very good Huntington Beach team. Junior running back Casey Eugenio is a playmaker to watch on JSerra’s side.
ALSO ON THE THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL MADNESS AGENDA:
Santa Monica vs. Mater Dei at Santa Ana Stadium, 7 p.m.: RED REDEMPTION!!! The Monarchs get a tuneup against the Vikings, ranked No. 4 in the Western Division, leading into next week’s showdown against Edison.
Irvine at Estancia, 7 p.m.: Both of these teams are undefeated and have championship aspirations. The Eagles are ranked No. 3 in the Southern Division and the Vaqueros are No. 6. I’m taking Estancia with its ground-and-pound game led by Robert Murtha.
Huntington Beach at Trabuco Hills, 7 p.m.: The Oilers lost a 20-13 heartbreaker to JSerra last week and the Mustangs suffered a 55-0 beatdown to Santa Margarita last week. This is going to be a bounce-back week for one of these two teams.
Laguna Beach at Glenn of Norwalk, 7 p.m.: My Spidey senses are tingling and they are telling me Breakers running back Drake Martinez is about to go all Madden 13 on the Eagles.
University of L.A. vs. Los Alamitos at Veterans Stadium, 7 p.m.: The Griffins aren’t exactly playing the most grueling nonleague schedule in the county and they are 1-1 after last week’s loss to Charter Oak of Covina. The pressure is on Los Al to have a big week.
Century at Bolsa Grande, 7 p.m.: Second-year Matadors coach Simon Fuentes is trying to create a winning environment at Bolsa Grande and the kids are buying in. Bolsa Grande rallied for a 35-32 victory over Saddleback last week. Can the Matadors keep the momentum going?
University vs. La Quinta at Garden Grove High, 7 p.m.: The 0-2-1 Trojans are due for a victory. This might be a bad week to be an Aztec.
Los Amigos vs. Costa Mesa at Orange Coast College, 7 p.m.: I’m expecting a big game from Lobos running back Jerry Saldivar (52 car., 376 yards, 2 TDs).
Kennedy vs. Magnolia at Western High, 7 p.m.: Somebody’s O has to go.
Western vs. Anaheim at Glover Stadium, 7 p.m.: Former Orange League rivals renew their rivalry.
Follow me on Twitter @LosOCVarsity.