By James Slater – Evander Holyfield, now less than two years shy of his 50th birthday, is set to fight again next year. With “The Real Deal’s” on/off clash with Sherman “The Tank” Williams now on indefinite hold, the former four-time heavyweight ruler will instead travel to Denmark, on March 5th 2011, to face local hero Brian Nielsen.
Dan Rafael of ESPN.com has reported that the fight is official, and that the contract has been signed..
“We’ve already signed the contract on Friday,” Holyfield’s manager Ken Sanders told Rafael. “Evander is in great condition and he’s ready to fight. We thought we would fight (against Williams) in November and then in December. So he’s champing at the bit to fight.”
Sanders went on to say how Nielsen, now aged 45 and inactive for the past eight years, has had an operation on his troublesome knee and that he will be ready to fight in March. And Holyfield’s right hand man talked up the match-up, referring to Nielsen, 64-2(43) as “a big guy,” adding how “big guys are always dangerous.”
“Just because he hasn’t fought in eight years doesn’t mean he hasn’t been training or sparring,” he said of the fighter who is a big hero in Denmark.”
Sanders said he expects the fight to attract “a pretty big draw because Nielsen is so popular there.” The manager also said the purse Holyfield will get for the March rumble (approx $500,000) is another reason Evander is taking the fight.
No doubt, even though he is 45-years-old and will almost certainly be rusty as a result, Nielsen’s Danish fans will attend the fight. But what kind of a fight will it be? Holyfield looked okay if not great last time out, when he halted Frans Botha in April, and we all know he will enter the ring in March looking his usual sculpted self. But what kind of shape will “Super Brian” be in?
Even during his best years Nielsen was never a toned heavyweight, carrying instead a fair amount of flab. This didn’t mean he couldn’t fight, and in his prime Nielsen managed good wins over guys like Lionel Butler, Tim Witherspoon and an ageing Larry Holmes. Nielsen’s most famous fight was his 2001 stoppage loss to Mike Tyson. Last appearing in a ring in 2002, when he won an eight-rounder over Uriah Grant, we have no idea what the former contender has been doing.
No doubt, Nielsen will look at Holyfield, 43-10-2(28) as a fellow veteran and a man he can defeat. But eight years out is a very long time, and though Holyfield is past his best like Holmes was when he met the Dane in 1997, Evander has at least been active and he practically lives in the gym. Has Nielsen been working out? Maybe, maybe not. But put it this way, it will be an upset if he were to defeat Holyfield in March. A few years ago, shocking “The Real Deal” would have been a big thing for any fighter, but today, it’s likely no-one will care all that much.
The March fight may even get stuck with a “freak show” label, and in truth it is hard to get excited about this match-up. Will it even get any T.V coverage in America? Will you watch it if it does?