Holyfield vs. Valuev…Boxing Gets TWO BLACK EYES

21.12.08 – by Suge Green – There was much criticism from the start at the prospect of a World Heavyweight Title bout between WBA Champion Nikolai Valeuv and all time great American heavyweight and former four time World Champion Evander Holyfield. From the outset, when the fight was merely a rumor, the idea created a unified voice in the boxing world…and the voice said “No,” loud and clear..

As if the heavyweight division has not come under fire enough in recent years, once again the division seemed to be getting the wrong type of attention. However, after much criticism the public was able to breath a premature sigh of relief when Valuev’s Russian manager shot down the idea, saying there was no chance that the 7 ft. Champion would be facing the 18 months inactive Holyfield. Oftentimes a boxing fan doesn’t know what to believe, and this was one of those cases. We hear that Holyfield is on a short list of opponents to potentially face Nikolai in Switzerland, then we hear he is not. Then we hear he is the final choice. From the very announcement it was said that this bout gives boxing a black eye. Well if that’s the case, after twelve rounds of boxing when the decision was read, boxing had received a second black eye.

Evander did everything a Valuev opponent needs to do in order to conquer this mountain of an adversary. He boxed from the outside, effectively measuring the range of this generation’s Primo Carnera (no offense to the family of the late Mr. Carnera), and kept him at bay under the threat of economical yet vicious combos. Valeuv surely had to be dizzy after the completion of the early rounds due to the strategy employed by the experienced former champion. Throughout the entire fight Evander circled Valuev from the outside, keeping him turning in a small circle…while the Real Deal would time and measure his adversary, awaiting the opportune time to strike. Holyfield would dive in from his comfort zone just outside of the giant’s reach, and land combinations to the head until the lumbering ogre would opt to hold. No stranger to infighting, the crafty Holyfield would land head blows and body shots until the referee called for the break.

In the not so often instances that Valuev would play the role of the aggressor, Evander troubled him with lateral movement leaving the Russian ineffective and several times, out of position. Summed up, this is the entire story of the fight, at very best a case may be made for giving Valuev three rounds…and that’s in consideration of the Christmas holiday season. Unfortunately those behind the scenes in Switzerland had other plans, and Holyfield wasn’t forwarded a copy of the night’s script…he however should have known the outcome would be predetermined, when he signed on to face what appears to be more of a “sports entertainer” than a boxer. Appearances aren’t everything though, and Valuev showed he had the acting skills to go with his physicality by raising his hand as if he had won.

Evander Holyfield is 46 years old, and told the world he was going to do something that they did not believe was possible. He did the impossible, and after he achieved it, the corrupt officials told him that he did not. As noted, after the final bell Valuev raised his hand in victory, only to be met with a chorus of boos and cuss words. Those sounds were echoed moments later when the decision (MD Valuev) was read to an irate crowd, who did not believe Valuev to be the victor or champion. In retrospect those in opposition to this fight occurring were correct. This is a fight that should not have taken place. All the public happened to be wrong about however, was the reason this fight should not have happened. It wasn’t that Holyfield didn’t deserve the opportunity or couldn’t win, the problem with this fight is that no matter what he did they weren’t going to let him win.

The only fact the reasoned observer can take solice in is that there are some fights that aren’t decided by the judges and the record books, they are decided by the people in attendance, the fans at home, and the writers putting pen to paper. In this particular instance at least, the oftentimes divisive boxing world is of one accord in saying that Evander Holyfield really beat Nikolai Valuev.

Evander showed just enough of the skills and gifts that made him a legend, and every bit of heart. Holyfield may not have walked away with his fifth World Title, but he once again showed the world, who thought that he was no longer capable of competing for a championship, that he is capable of winning it. Even at 46 years of age Evander Holyfield is “The Real Deal,” and that’s a unanimous decision.


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Along with “Iceman” John Scully and “Big Time” Tim Kudgis, Suge Green is part of the On The Grind Radio team. OTG Radio is live at 8pm est/5pm pst Sundays and Thursdays (1am UK, Mondays and Fridays) right here on eastsideboxing, listen to past episodes by clicking the “On The Grind Boxing Radio” button.

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