Holyfield: What is the Real Deal? Fight with Maddalone next step towards undisputed quest

01.03.07 - By Mike Indri: - photo courtesy of The Retired Boxers Foundation - Tuesday’s New York press conference announcing the Main Events promoted Evander Holyfield vs. Vinny Maddalone heavyweight boxing showdown set for March 17th did little to answer boxing’s ultimate question of the four-time former world champion: WHY ARE YOU STILL FIGHTING? That’s because while the legendary future hall-of-famer graciously answered this most frequent question pitted by every boxing scribe in attendance, he never really did answer the question..

holyfield, maddalone"It’s not about money. My goal is to become the undisputed heavyweight world boxing champion, and I will fight anyone….as long as the money is right."

While Holyfield’s answer is contradictory, his self belief appears certain. "By 2008, I know that will be it - the end, because by 2008 I’ll be the undisputed champion of the world!"

No one can ever question Holyfield’s greatness or his commitment, as attested by the one and only Lou Duva who always said that Evander was his most determined fighter, and the easiest to train. While it may not be as "enjoyable" for the 44-year-old to get into the gym these days for training as it was since he first laced up the gloves professionally as a cruiserweight in 1984, it is the mission that Holyfield says he willed onto himself after losing his WBC, WBA and IBF title belts to Riddick Bowe, by unanimous decision, in 1992.

"After losing to Bowe, I set this goal. It’s my destiny to again become the undisputed champion of the world. That’s why I do what I do, because I have this goal, I set this goal in 1992."

After losing to Larry Donald (11/13/04 at Madison Square Garden) in a very "Un-Real Deal-Like" 12 rounder, the New York State Athletic Control Board stripped Holyfield of his state boxing license for his poor performance. The lackluster and very concerning unanimous decision loss (Holyfield landed only 78 punches, according to Compu-Box) was also the Atlanta native’s third consecutive lopsided defeat.

Chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission, Ron Stevens publicly stated, "to my practiced mind, Holyfield shouldn’t be fighting anymore. It’s the responsibility of the state athletic commission to save a boxer from himself."

While still a sore subject, Holyfield’s lawyers appealed the suspension and the fighter bore down on his biggest fight outside the ropes. Succumbing to numerous extensive medical tests and procedures, which deemed the fighter fit and healthy, Holyfield’s clean bill of health attributed to the NYSAC modifying it’s stance and narrowing their suspension to a statewide deferment. Hence, the comeback six months ago as Holyfield needed only two rounds to dispatch of West Virginia insurance salesman Jeremy Bates (21-12-1) this past August 18th in Dallas; looking good in the process.

What made believers out of many of Holyfield’s skeptics was his surprising twelve round unanimous decision win over the difficult and very formidable contender Fres Oquendo (26-4, 16 KO’s) in November, at the Alamodome in San Antonio. While definitely not a "fight of the year" candidate, Holyfield out-worked his 33-year-old opponent to earn the win.

"I know I’m a lot better now then when I stepped in there against Bates and Oquendo," stated Holyfield, reiterating "as long as I get the opportunity I will be the undisputed champion of the world!"

While few people are seriously giving Vinny Maddalone (27-3, 19 KO’s) any chance, this is also his opportunity.
"This isn’t the same Evander Holyfield from 15 years ago, and I’m going to try my best to test him," stated the Flushing, NY native. "I’m working hard and I’m going to give it all I got."

Also working hard that night will be Maddalone’s cutman Danny Milano, one of the best in the business. While the stated 500 stitches may be a stretch, Maddalone’s face serves as the proud Italian’s badge of honor and is the result of the all-action style of fighting which Maddalone will bring to the ring in Corpus Christi, Texas on March 17th.

A win over Maddalone, as planned, will land Holyfield a title shot, possibly this summer. That in itself is remarkable for a boxer who just two years ago was out of boxing, and for that I commend Evander Holyfield.

His being the onloy fighter ever to win the heavyweight championship a record four times, his beating sixteen world champions and his being the best cruiserweight ever, only adds to his legacy.

But, here is the real deal:

Evander Holyfield will not become the undisputed heavyweight world champion. No one will - not because of the limit of any heavyweight fighter, but because of the limit of their promoters.

While boxing is a fight business, it is more importantly a money business, and that is why we will never see another undisputed heavyweight world champion…even more reason to appreciate the true greatness of one of our era’s best - Evander Holyfield.
The Main Events promoted seven bout fight card will also feature 2000 U.S. Olympian heavyweight Calvin Brock (29-1, 22 KO’s) and undefeated bantamweight Raul Martinez (17-0 with 12 KO’s).

Tickets range in price from $250 (VIP) to $35 and can be purchased at the American Bank Center box office and all TicketMaster outlets, including online at and by phone at (361) 881-8499.

Article posted on 02.03.2007

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