Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield

More than 12 years ago Mike Tyson bit off a part of Evander Holyfield's right ear in a heavyweight title fight. On Friday, the two men met, shook hands and showered each other with praise.

Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield to reunite on Oprah

Appearing on a live edition of The Oprah Winfrey Show, Holyfield said he has long since forgiven Tyson for biting him. "At that moment I was very angry, but eventually when it's all over, you realize that you gain more than you lost," Holyfield said. "Part of the battle is how you relate after something like that happens. The most important thing was for me to forgive, and I forgave him. And I was ready to move on."

Holyfield requested the face-to-face after Tyson's appearance on Winfrey's show Monday. During that interview, Tyson admitted that his formal apology was insincere. On Friday's show, Tyson expressed his respect for Holyfield, but stopped short of apologizing.

"I watched him over the years, and he's become such a decorated fighter," Tyson said. "I have great respect for him, and I wanted to beat him so bad. Even though people didn't give him the credit, I knew that [by] beating him I would have conquered a giant.

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"This is a beautiful guy," Tyson said, holding Holyfield's arm. "I just want you to know it's just been a pleasure ... being acquainted with you."

Holyfield also lightened the mood by mentioning that biting was his defense mechanism as a kid. The crowd roared with laughter when Winfrey joked that the infamous bite from Tyson must have been karmic retribution for Holyfield.

Tyson said this sit-down should have happened years before, but both fighters agreed that the better-late-than-never face-off was about sending a message of peace to young people.

"What's more important for young people around the world to understand is that you have conflicts in life," Holyfield said. "If we can come together, we know you can come together."