If you’re wondering what a legitimate heavyweight fight (anywhere) and a relatively obscure exhibition in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, have in common, we just found out: At some point, a guy needs to get paid.
Evander Holyfield was scheduled to receive up to $1 million to fight Sammy Retta this past weekend in Ethiopia, a fundraiser to fight the spread of AIDS in the country. But according to Holyfield’s manager, Ken Sanders, payment never was received. So the event was postponed (if not canceled).
“We were supposed to have the check by early June,” said Sanders, who spent a week with Holyfield in Ethiopia two months ago, setting up the bout. “The guy kept saying, ‘It’s coming, it’s coming. Don’t worry about it.’ But finally, we had to cancel. We weren’t going to do one of those those things, ‘We’ll give you the money when you get here.’”
But there is good news. At least nobody in Ethiopia is trying to foreclose on any of his properties.
Sanders said the local promoter’s sponsor dropped out and now the Ethiopian government has stepped in as a potential financial backer because officials there still desire for the event come off. The tentative rescheduled date is Sept. 11. Holyfield likely will make less than the originally discussed $1 million, and he plans to donate a portion of those earnings to the AIDS cause. The fight against Retta also will be an official bout, sanctioned by the WBC, and not an exhibition.
“It’s a legitimate fight now — but not a hard fight,” said Sanders.
No kidding. While Holyfield is 46 and far removed from the fighter who won championships, Retta is an afterthought: He’s 35, has had only 21 bouts (18-3), never fought anybody of consequence and hasn’t been in the ring in over two years.
Meanwhile, Sanders maintained that Holyfield is still “getting his finances in order,” when asked about recent foreclosure notices on some of his property.
Holyfield also still hopes to get another title shot. This usually is about the time when I would go on some rant and implore him to retire. But I think there’s a better chance of him getting a $1 million check in the mail from Ethiopia.