Holyfield Set For Another Title Shot

evander holyfield01.10.07 - By Matthew Hurley: Most people in the boxing community, but not all, wish that legendary fighter Evander Holyfield would retire from the game. Sometimes enough is enough and “The Real Deal” lived up to his nickname longer than most of us expected. He was a great fighter. Unquestionably he was the greatest cruiserweight of all time and arguably a top 15 heavyweight of all time. And yet he continues to fight at the age of 45.

Holyfield will take on Sultan Ibragimov at the Khodynka Arena in Russia on October 13th on Showtime. Evander can’t be blamed for thinking that he can win a belt considering how low the level of competition is in the heavyweight division right now.

But he’s only fought marginal opponents in his most recent comeback. None of them possessed the firepower to even distract the former champion – although on a few occasions he did seem a bit a buzzed.

But credit must be given to the aged fighter because he simply is what he is – a fighter. He doesn’t really know how to do anything else and he’s not comfortable if he’s not in a boxing gym training for a fight. On top of that he has a palatial estate in Atlanta that he has to pay for alongside alimony and child support payments. The man has to make a living and there is a feeling that all those millions of dollars he made in his heyday may not have been properly invested. Make no mistake, Holyfield likes being rich and he likes the trappings of being rich. And that’s just what they are and what they always turn out to be for even the nicest of people – trappings. Why exactly does Evander need multiple bathrooms and multiple bedrooms in an estate that looks like a museum? He likes showing it off, plan and simple and in the end there’s nothing wrong with that. He earned the money and spent as he saw fit.

The only problem is that he earned it by getting punched in the head, and that’s where people who care about him begin to get concerned. He has ever right to ply his craft and the New York State Athletic Commission’s revoking of his license, albeit with heart in place, was wrong. But sometimes a fighter has to be saved from himself.

When Holyfield was knocked out by James Toney I had the same feeling I know my father and my uncles and my grandfathers had when Rocky Marciano knocked out Joe Louis. Louis fell through the ropes in a heap and Marciano, who worshiped at the Louis alter, wept in his dressing room after the bout. Holyfield fell on his face at the hands of a supremely talented but, let’s be honest, former middleweight. It was heartbreaking to watch. There is a feeling in this corner that should Holyfield defeat Ibragimov, and he just might pull it off, he may find himself in the ring with a Wladimir Klitschko or Samuel Peter or any number of oversized big punchers who could knock him cold. He does, after all, maintain that winning one belt is not his goal. He wants to unify the titles.

What made Evander Holyfield such a special fighter throughout the years, his courage and his heart, are now conspiring against him. He is a man on a hopeless mission but one who still demands our attention because of his glorious past. Hopefully that past won’t be wiped away by a tragic future.

Article posted on 02.10.2007

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