By James Slater: No doubt even more determined to carry on with his quest to once again become the undisputed heavyweight champion as a result of watching another ageless wonder in Bernard Hopkins make history recently, 48-year-old Evander Holyfield is as used to smashing the odds as Hopkins is.
Having made a career of upsetting his rivals as well as the betting odds, and being hugely celebrated as result, “The Real Deal” has also been the subject of stern criticism at times. Many fans and experts feel strongly how Evander, though still able to win at a certain level, is no Bernard Hopkins, and that he runs the risk of damaging his health by carrying on fighting. Holyfield has also undergone accusations of having used illegal stimulants.
As far back as the early ’90s fingers were pointed at Holyfield with regards to him having bulked up with the aid of PEDs. And then, more recently, there was the now infamous “Evan Fields” episode. During a 2007 investigation of the company Applied Pharmacy Services, of Alabama, it was discovered how a customer named Evan Fields was buying steroids. A phone call was placed to the number of Fields and, low and behold, Holyfield picked up!
Instantly denying any wrong doing, the former four-time heavyweight champ stated that the medication was for his dad, who had a heart condition (and is now deceased). The story appeared to go away, but in a recent interview with Kevin Gorman of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Holyfield spoke in some depth about the incident.
“When people say I’m linked to something, they’ve got to show some kind of proof,” Holyfield said. “Ask them how many times they have seen me overweight or underweight. I am consistently at the same weight more than anybody who ever boxed. They’ve never seen my skin saggy. And I’ve been tested more than anybody, and they ain’t ever found nothing in my system.”
It’s true that nothing concrete has ever been attached to Holyfield in regards to his using steroids or PEDs. As such, just as in the case of Hopkins (who was accused of taking illegal stimulants by Jean Pascal), and in the case of Manny Pacquiao (who has been accused by Floyd Mayweather Junior amongst others), people should watch what they say.
Of course, the critics will never go away, and because of his immaculate physique (immaculate even at the age of nearly 50), it seems inevitable Holyfield will continue to hear talk of him cheating. I think its quite refreshing how Evander took the time, however briefly, to talk about what might well have been the single most upsetting chapter of his great career. After all, “The Warrior” could very easily have said “no comment,” couldn’t he?
Is Evander a cheat? For what it’s worth, I do not think so.