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Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield reunite in Chicago supermarket

By Luis Gomez

10:05 PM PST, February 17, 2013

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Chicago once again played host to a Mike Tyson-Evander Holyfield reunion Saturday, just like it did when the two former boxing rivals appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in 2009. But rather than reunite in front of a live studio audience, they smiled and hugged at the Jewel-Osco at 1655 E. 95th St.

Tyson, in town for his one-man "Undisputed Truth" shows at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, made a brief stop at Jewel Saturday to visit Holyfield, who was promoting his Real Deal BBQ Sauce as part of the supermarket chain's "A Taste of Black History" program. There were rumors Tyson might stop by, but Holyfield said he was still surprised when Tyson did show, much to the delight of the crowd (some of whom lined up at 7 a.m. for Holyfield's 3 p.m. appearance).

"It sent a message and let the world know that two fighters can come and forgive each other and move on for the best and the world can do the same thing," Holyfield said the next day, promoting his barbecue sauce Sunday at Jewel's 1220 S. Ashland Ave. location. "Everyone knows we were archrivals and all that, but when all is said and done, I forgave him and he forgave himself. Here's a man who changed his life and changed my life, and that's the way the world is supposed to be."

The two boxing greats are forever linked by their 1997 heavyweight championship match, in which Tyson bit off part of Holyfield's ear and said afterward, "He's not the tough warrior everyone says he is." (Tyson playfully reenacted the bite Friday during an appearance on the Tribune Company-owned WGN's morning news.) Both men had run into each other on various occasions after the incident but didn't clear the air until the "Oprah" appearance.

Their mutual admiration was evident on Twitter this weekend. Holyfield tweeted Saturday "Here watching the @Miketyson show at Cadillac Palace Theatre," and Tyson tweeted Sunday "Make sure to get @holyfield's 'Real Deal' BBQ sauce."

"He invited me to come watch his show," Holyfield said Sunday at Jewel. "I could see he's making adjustments to be a better person."

Following his show Saturday, I saw the 46-year-old Tyson at Nellcote having a late dinner with his wife and a contest winner who had bid on a "Super VIP" package that included tickets to his show, a signed boxing glove and dinner with "Iron" Mike (proceeds went to the Mike Tyson Cares Foundation). No one appeared to recognize Tyson when he walked into the dimly lit West Loop restaurant wearing a winter hat and coat. He did, however, get a stare or two when he looked down onto the crowd from his elevated private dining area and took in the scene for a few minutes before heading to his more secluded table.

Holyfield opted for dinner at Paris Club Saturday. Afterward, the 50-year-old boxer headed to upstairs club Studio Paris.

Happy ending: Lady Gaga didn't let her canceled tour get in the way of meeting 5-year-old fan Kayleigh Gurzynski in Chicago Wednesday. The "Poker Face" singer — whose shows last Wednesday and Thursday at the United Center were among those canceled after the singer revealed a major hip injury — met Gurzynski at a Chicago hotel. Gurzynski, who was born with Hypoplastic left heart syndrome and Turner syndrome, had come down from the Milwaukee area to meet Gaga at her concert before learning of the change of plans. (Melissa Persike, Gurzynski's mother, confirmed the meeting to the Tribune.)

"I read about Kayleigh's wish more than a month ago on Reddit," said Shervin Pishevar, a friend of Lady Gaga's manager, Troy Carter, who helped facilitate the meeting. "I went to her Facebook page and contacted her mom. … I then contacted Gaga's manager and he agreed to set up a backstage meeting at her Chicago concert. When the concert was canceled, Gaga still went ahead with the meeting. … Kayleigh was so happy her dream came true."

About this week: Dulé Hill ("Psych") will promote USA Network's anti-discrimination campaign, "I won't stand for …" Friday at Millennium Park. … Charles S. Dutton ("Roc") will perform his one-man "From Jail to Yale: Serving Time on Stage" show Wednesday and Thursday at the University of Chicago's Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts.

Sightings: Oprah Winfrey ("Oprah's Next Chapter") dined with Harpo Studio employees Feb. 6 in Spiaggia's private dining area. … Following his performance in "The Motherf***er with the Hat" at Steppenwolf Theatre Feb. 8, Jimmy Smits ("NYPD Blue") hung out at the show's after-party next door at Vinci with members of Teatro Vista theater company. On Feb. 2, Smits was on hand for the launch party for Collaboraction theater company's newest production, "Crime Scene: A Chicago Anthology," at the Flat Iron Arts Building in Wicker Park. … Rapper Lupe Fiasco attended the opening of the "Destroy the Picture: Painting the Void, 1949-1962" exhibit Friday at the Museum of Contemporary Art and celebrated his birthday Saturday at the Pump Room in the Public Chicago hotel. … The Bulls' Derrick Rose had dinner Friday at N9NE Steakhouse. … Bears coach Marc Trestman dined with retired Buffalo Bills coach Marv Levy Saturday at Harry Caray's Italian Steakhouse in River North.

lgomez@tribune.com