Robbery In Zurich: Valuev Receives A Christmas Gift At Holyfield’s Expense

Evander Holyfield20.12.08 - By Stuart Cornwell - The critics said he had “zero chance” of winning, and they were probably right about that. Because in hindsight it seems likely that if Evander Holyfield had knocked Nicolay Valuev out he would have only been awarded a draw. In a fight that was predictably slow-paced and uneventful, Holyfield was the better man by far. In almost every round Holyfield did the better work, and he really didn’t do much at all. But he did what he needed to do, fought a smart fight, controlled the fight, dictated the pace and scored with the better shots on those rare occasions when blows were exchanged. In reality, Valuev deserved to win 2 or 3 rounds at most with Holyfield deserving the remainder. It shouldn’t have even been close. But when the judges scores were announced we had two judges favouring Valuev, by scores of 116-112 and 115-114, and another sugar-coating this atrocity with an even 114-114..

Another thing the critics turned out to be right about was that this fight was bad for the image of boxing. There have been other similarly lacklustre fights advertised as being for one or other of these alphabet “world titles”. And there have been many bad decisions. But rarely has there been such a toxic combination of the two, in a fight that should have ended with at least some sort of redeeming narrative. The ultimate underdog overcame the odds. The man they said had no chance of winning actually outboxed his rival. It wasn’t pretty, in fact it was dreary and unspectacular, it was mediocre as far as boxing matches go. But Holyfield did what had to be done, he flummoxed Valuev simply by employing constant lateral movement and scoring with a few sharp counters and clubbing hooks on the inside. Valuev did nothing in almost every round.

The whole affair really does not warrant much more comment. Nicolay Valuev entered the ring as WBA champion and 4th ranked heavyweight according to The Ring magazine, and now has a “win” over Evander Holyfield on his record, for what it’s worth. Holyfield entered the ring branded by more than a few journalists as “deluded” and “insane” for even beginning to believe he could win, with doomsayers predicting his demise at the hands of the Russian.

Valuev left the ring to boos, Holyfield to cheers. For the record books : Nicolay Valuev W12 Evander Holyfield. It’s not fair, it’s not right, but that’s boxing.

Article posted on 21.12.2008

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