After defeating Buster Douglas to become the undisputed world heavyweight champion in 1990, Evander Holyfield put together three defences of his WBA, WBC, IBF and lineal titles, seeing off big-name veterans George Foreman and Larry Holmes as well as journeyman Bert Cooper.
His fourth opponent, Brooklyn's Riddick Bowe, was an opponent of a different magnitude entirely. Boasting a flawless 31-0 record (besting even Holyfield's 28-0), he was young, hungry and ready to put the champion's credentials to the test.
The hotly-anticipated contest took place in the bright lights of Las Vegas on November 13, 1992 and unfolded as an authentic 12-round classic, with Bowe turning in a magnificent performance to ascend to the summit of his sport.
Holyfield, for whom the bout was seen as a litmus test of credibility, lost his belts but left Nevada with his standing arguably improved following the ferocious fight.
The judges scored things comfortably in Bowe's favour 117–110, 117–110 and 115–112, but the margin of victory only begins to tell the story. The final three rounds were compelling, with the duo trading dominant periods in the 10th, only for Bowe's relentless power to force Holyfield to the mat with a right hand to the side of the head.
Against the odds he held out to the end – even launching a forlorn search for a knock-out blow in the closing moments – but a new king had been crowned in what was widely considered the year's best in-ring action.
The result was flipped on its head in the rematch a year later, Holyfield regaining the titles via a majority decision, with Bowe eventually capping the trilogy by inflicting a first ever knock-out on his rival in a non-title clash in 1995.