45-Year-Old Heavyweight Brian Nielson To Come Back; Could Fight Evander Holyfield!

by James Slater - It's quite likely a good number of fans will cringe upon reading this news, but Denmark's former heavyweight contender Brian Nielson is set to return to the ring later this year - at the advanced age of 45!

ESPN's Dan Rafael has reported that promoter Kalle Sauerland has confirmed how the Dane has signed a comeback deal, and that he will likely fight again for the first time in eight years in November.. No return opponent has been officially named yet, but a Danish newspaper has put out a story suggesting Nielson may actually fight former four time heavyweight king Evander Holyfield; who, of course, is still fighting at age 47.

At a time when the heavyweight division is already less than appealing to some - what with the "boring" Klitschko brothers proving frustrating to watch in the opinion of certain fans, along with all the ageing former champions already clogging up the division - Nielson's return is almost sure to annoy and depress many. And if the fight with the way past his best "Real Deal" does go ahead, it's a certainty the fight will be labelled a "freak show."

It's not that Nielson, 64-2(43) was a bad fighter. In his day he certainly proved his toughness and his gameness. Willing to go in with the best, the former Olympian and overall fine amateur met, amongst other big punchers, Mike Tyson, James "Bonecrusher" Smith, Larry Holmes and Tim Witherspoon. The 45-year-old - who retired in 2003 with a bad knee given as the main reason - managed wins over Smith, Holmes and Witherspoon (all of whom were quite a ways past their glory days), but was forced to stay on his stool after 6-rounds against Tyson; who was then on a slow fade himself.

As with all ageing fighters who suddenly and surprisingly decide to fight again, the first thought fans have is, do they need money? We don't know if this is the case with Nielson, but it could be the reason. We also have no idea how much the old warrior has left to offer today; or what kind of physical shape he will get himself into for his return. Never exactly a guy you could call svelte even in his prime, the 6'3" fighter weighed-in at around the 260-pound mark for his 2001 fight with Tyson. What on earth will he weigh these days?

If, and it's probably a very big if, Nielson has got anything left, he could maybe win himself a couple of fights; but as to him getting anywhere close to fighting for a major belt, forget it. Nielson, who managed to take out "Bonecrusher," Tony Tubbs, Mike Hunter, Lionel Butler and Witherspoon in his 90's heyday, could always whack. Maybe he still can. Will Evander Holyfield be the first fighter to find out firsthand!

For the record, Nielson's last fight was an eight-round UD win over cruiserweight Uriah Grant, in April of 2002. Aside from Tyson, the only man to have beaten Nielson is Nebraska's Dicky Ryan, who halted him in the 10th-round in 1999.

Article posted on 01.06.2010

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