Evander Holyfield turns 47 years old on Oct. 19. That basically means if he was writing three blogs a day, he would almost be just like me — because nobody will pay either one of us to fight.
There are three words associated with every boxing-related event: subject to change. That was reaffirmed Wednesday when it was learned boxing organizers in South Korea could not/would not/decided they should not come up with only $250,000 to cover Holyfield’s purse for a non-title fight Nov. 8.
Holyfield has lost his last two fights. He is 6-7-2 in his last 15 bouts. That basically means he’s still alive for an NHL playoff spot but dead in boxing. He last held a piece of the heavyweight title 10 years ago, give or take a CAT scan. The pleas for him to retire have been loud and frequent, which is really significant when you consider heavyweight boxing these days hardly is flooded with indestructable forces.
But what has happened over the past few months sends an even louder message about how far Holyfield has fallen.
He was supposed to go to Ethiopia for a non-title fight, ostensibly to raise funds for AIDS charities. Holyfield went there months ahead of time to negotiate the deal, came home but never went back. Why Because his payment never arrived. The government said it would fund the event, but never mailed a check. So the event was canceled.
It’s like everybody eventually stops and thinks, “Wait, why are we paying this guy?”
The South Korea fight also was to come against a minor opponent. Holyfield took it to curry favor with WBC president Jose Sulaiman, who wanted to stage a bout in conjunction with his convention. In return, Sulaiman said Holyfield would get a title shot against Vitali Klitschko.
Manager Ken Sanders claims Holyfield will still get the Klitschko fight. Referring to Sulaiman, Sanders told our contributor Michael Tierney, “His word is pretty good.”
Holyfield has no contract for a title fight. Not that it matters. In boxing, breaking a contract is standard operating proceedure. But Sanders is going to hold Sulaiman to his “word”?
I like Holyfield. Always have. But at some point, he needs to take a hint. When nobody will give you even the boxing equivalent of change between the couch cushions, it’s over.