What’s Worth Watching: ‘Chasing Tyson’ on ESPN for Tuesday, November 10

30 for 30: Chasing Tyson. Evander Holyfield
Courtesy Higgins Boxing Photography
30 for 30: Chasing Tyson. Evander Holyfield

30 for 30, “Chasing Tyson” (Tuesday, Nov. 10, 8/7c, ESPN)

In sports, winning isn’t always everything. Just ask Evander Holyfield, who earned his coveted heavyweight championship belt four times. Throughout his career of highs and lows in the 1990s, this quiet and modest prizefighter was continually overshadowed by the reckless antics of bad-boy boxing legend Mike Tyson, and in the pungent 30 for 30 documentary “Chasing Tyson,” we’re reminded why Holyfield’s greatest fight may have been for respect. As reporter/commentator Jim Gray explains: “People don’t gravitate toward calm. Everybody goes to look at the hurricane.”

The film, by Oscar and Emmy nominee Steven Cantor, charts each fighter’s rise through the ranks (Holyfield started in cruiserweight before advancing to heavyweight) and then recalls in detail all of the obstacles that kept them from facing other in the ring for years. With “Iron Mike” Tyson in prison after a rape conviction, Holyfield found his achievements diminished by a distracted media and skeptical fan base that would never celebrate him as a true champion until he could square off with the glorified Tyson. Their time finally arrived 19 years ago this week, but what everyone remembers is the bloody rematch of a year later, when Tyson’s out-of-control behavior once again deprived Holyfield of the pure victory he needed to secure his legend. This is a story whose bite is surely worse than its bark.