Holyfield Gets Some Bad News in His Quest For One Last Title Shot

evander holyfield26.06.07 - By Scott Frake: As of today, the four-time heavyweight champion Evander Holyfieldís (41-8-2, 27 Ko's) chance at winning another heavyweight title appears to have grown even slimmer with the announcement of the unification bout between WBA heavyweight champion Ruslan Chagaev and WBO heavyweight champion Sultan Ibragimov. Holyfield, 44, had hoped to be the first challenger for Sultan Ibragimovís initial title defense. Now with Ibragimov fighting Chagaev, that leaves Holyfield out in the cold.

Of course, thereís still a slight chance that Ibragimov will still choose to fight Holyfield after the fight with Chagaev, but thatís far down the line and thereís no guarantees that Ibragimov will even beat the tough Chagaev, who has style that be tough to beat.

No doubt, Holyfield can ill-afford to wait long for another title opportunity, as heís fast approaching his 45th birthday, making him one of the oldest heavyweight challengers since George Foreman. Besides a shot at the winner of Chagaev-Ibragimov, there appears to be little chance of Holyfield landing a shot at Wladimir Klitschko, the IBF heavyweight champion, or Oleg Maskaev, the current WBC champion, as theyíve not shown interest in fighting older fighters, and perhaps would see a fight against Holyfield as a pathetic circus-like event.

The main problem, it seems, is the fact that Holyfield hasnít beaten any top-level opponents since he started his boxing comeback last year following a two-year lay off. Jeremy Bates, Fres Oquendo and Vinny Maddalone, the three fighters Holyfield has beaten in his short comeback, are all fine 2nd tier fighters, but clearly a far cry from the top level in the boxing division, which essentially gives him little gain from having beaten them.

Too many boxing experts, they still see Holyfield for the most part as being the same fighter that was outclassed by Chris Byrd, Larry Donald and stopped by James Toney between the years 2002-2004. Those defeats were blamed on a shoulder injury, which has since healed, Holyfield states. However, how much was shoulder problems and how much was due to his advanced age, is largely unknown at this time. Clearly, Holyfield is still looked upon with skepticism by many, and until he actually beats a talented fighter, heís not going to get much credit nor will he likely be getting a shot a title.

On Saturday night, Holyfield will take on Lou Savarese, another forty-year-old fighter on a boxing comeback, and the perfect opponent for Evander to look good against and continue his brief winning streak. Big and slow, and easily countered, Savarese will likely be stopped by Holyfield early on, if he has anything left. Savarese 46-6, 38 KOís) was a decent heavyweight in the 90s, but with a large string of losses to George Foreman, Michael Grant, Mike Tyson and Kirk Johnson, among others, it showed that Big Lou wasnít able to cut the mustard against the 1st tier opposition in the heavyweight division.

Shortly after his decision loss to Leo Nolan in 2004, Savarese retired from boxing. However, like Holyfield, Savarese returned to boxing in 2006, probably liking his chances at winning a title after seeing champions like Wladimir Klitschko and Nikolay Valuev at the top.

At this point, itís hard to tell what Holyfield is out to prove by fighting Savarese, since heís clearly not the type of fighter that Holyfield would need to boost his reputation and thus earn him a deserved shot at a title. What he desperately needs is a win over talented younger fighter, someone like Calvin Brock or Sergei Liakhovich to give him a little more credibility and a shot forward in the rankings. With wins over either of them, or someone of their talent level, Holyfield would be impossible to ignore.

Article posted on 27.06.2007

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