Reports have recently emerged from the United States that four time Heavyweight Champion of the World and former undisputed Cruiserweight Champion of the World, Evander Holyfield, has stated that he is seriously considering retiring from the square circle if he fails to gain one last attempt at a World Heavyweight titles.
The 49 year old Holyfield made the statement in a newspaper interview that he will retire if he fails to get an opportunity against either one of the Klitschko brothers, Wladimir and Vitali, who currently hold the WBA Super, IBO, IBF and WBC titles, respectively, while Russian Alexander Povetkin holds the WBA’s regular title.
However Wladimir is about to fight on the 14th July in a rematch against the 6ft 5 inch American southpaw Tony Thompson, who is the mandatory challenger for the IBF crown in Berne, Switzerland and is strongly rumoured to be travelling stateside afterward to fight big hitting Mexican-American heavyweight Chris Arreola.
Meanwhile, elder brother Vitali is penned into fight German heavyweight Manuel Charr in the 9th defence of the WBC title in Moscow in a fight that is rumoured to be Vitali’s last should he be victorious in the forthcoming elections in his native Ukraine for which he is standing for Mayor of Kiev on the Democratic Reform ticket.
However, Povetkin is reportedly available to defend his WBA “regular” title after facing his mandatory opponent Hasim Rahman, the former undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World, requiring an operation to remove a cyst in his right wrist, and as a result the fight which was to be promoted by Sauerland Events in Hamburg has been postponed.
Although it is likely the fight will go ahead once Rahman is fully fit, this potentially shuts the door on Holyfield.
Although Holyfield will be 50 this year and is widely regarded as a fighter in decline for the last few years, his name and achievements would help sell tickets should he face either of the Klitschkos or Povetkin, should Rahman not make it.
However, this writer believes that while a Povetkin clash could happen, it is highly unlikely that either Klitschko brother, with their considerable knowledge of boxing history, would wish to fight an aging and extremely shop worn Holyfield, through a combination of respect and admiration for the American.
There is also possibly the fear of the long term damage to Holyfield’s health that either brother, whose knockout percentages are up there with the likes of Mike Tyson, Rocky Graziano and George Foreman, would do the older and considerably smaller Holyfield, who turned professional after winning light heavyweight bronze at the 1984 Olympics, could potentially inflict in a world title bout in a football stadium somewhere in Germany.
In the newspaper interview, Holyfield stated he only wishes to fight for a world title, not because of the money, but because of the glory and the fear of becoming complacent without the additional motivation of a world title to train for.
The remarks could be seen by fight fans around the world as an admittance that the great man is finally considering ringing the final bell on his glittering career, which would guarantee him a call to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota once he completes his five year eligibility period, and see him join in 2017 at the earliest fellow 1990's greats Julio Cesar Chavez, Mike Tyson and Ricardo Lopez.
Holyfield’s 57 fight professional career, which saw become the first and so far only man to be recognised as the undisputed Cruiserweight and Heavyweight Champions of the World, is packed with thrilling bouts such as his epic trilogy with Riddick Bowe, two fights with Michael Moorer, the first of which in 1994 saw him reportedly fight the second half of the fight in state of heart failure which detected after requiring an examination of his left shoulder.
Miraculously, Holyfield’s heart problem was reportedly healed through Benny Hines, the charismatic Israeli televangelist touching him and healing at a Christian revival meeting, allowing him to resume his career which included the bite fight with Mike Tyson in 1997, which saw him needing the Helix of his ear sown back on.
Following this, Holyfield would have two fights with Lennox Lewis in which he drew the first and lost the second, and going 1-1-1 in his trilogy with the tough Puerto-Rican-American heavyweight John Ruiz.
In 2003, Holyfield suffered consecutive losses to James Toney and Larry Donald before reportedly having his licence pulled due to diminished skills despite being physically and mentally fit, according to numerous medical tests.
However in 2006, he made his return to the ring against American Jeremy Bates, whom he would defeat in two rounds then pull off three consecutive wins against B-side opposition such as Fres Oquendo, Vinny Maddalone and Lou Savarese before dropping two points decisions against Sultan Ibrahimov and Nikolai Valuev for the WBO and WBA belts, respectively, his last opportunities at a recognised world title belt.
Next up were two wins in three fights against aging fighters Francois Botha, Sherman Williams and Brian Nielsen, with the Williams bout declared a No-Contest.
This writer, like many knowledgeable fight fans, hopes that Holyfield does see through on these remarks in his latest interview and does actually ring the final bell on his glittering career, before he further tarnishes our memories and that he can be given a role outside of the square circle within the sport of boxing that his achievements so rightly command.
Iain Langmaid can be contacted on:
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