Evander Holyfield's "Real Deal" Boxing is a boxing simulation. Holyfield is the only licensed boxer, the rest are fictitious. Rather than a fanciful approach like Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!, the developers went for a more strategic simulation. The game is played from a pseudo-3D side view with moving around the ring handled by scrolling the backdrop and moving the ropes. A top down camera is shown at the top of the screen.
Players can either play a quick exhibition match or fight their way through the career mode, using a created boxer to work their way up the 30-boxer ranking list until they fight Holyfield himself. During character creation, players can choose the fighter's color of skin, trunks and hair, haircut, dominant hand and stats emphasis. Between matches, career mode offers various exercises to assign the boxer to improve his stats.
During the fights, besides an energy bar, the fighters have a head and a torso damage meter. This meters are images of their head and torso, which become gradually grey, from top to bottom, as they are hit. If one of these meters becomes totally grey, it will start blinking, warning that it the fighter takes some more punches on that area, he will loose the fight by TKO. Being knocked down tree times in a round also leads to a TKO. During the rounds' breaks, fighters regain strength as the girl with the round sign passes along their sides.
Fighters can perform three types of punches: jabs, hooks and uppers, which can be aimed at the opponent's head or torso. Fighters can also taunt their opponents. If by some reason the fighters avoid to fight, the spectators will start to hiss at them. To keep the spectators pleased, the fighters must keep punching each other on a regular basis.