Evander Holyfield has managed to make news at least twice during the 2012 London Olympics.
First, he showed up in a man-on-the-street interview with a news crew that didn’t recognize him, a gaffe pundits gleefully made viral. Now comes the announcement that Holyfield is set to auction a huge trove of memorabilia – including the bronze medal he won at the 1984 Summer Games.
The Champ gave both Olympic bulletins a positive spin.
“When I do the ‘Today’ show I will be sure to wear a shirt that has my name on it, front and back,” he quipped via Twitter this week, after being featured on NBC’s morning program as just another tourist. “Probably carry a sign as well for backup!”
As for the news that his championship rings, belts, gloves, trunks, robes, jewelry including Rolex and Cartier watches and his 1962 Chevrolet Corvette will soon be on the block?
“Looking forward to donating a portion of my auction proceeds to a charity organization for kids,” he tweeted.
Items up for grabs include championship rings and belts; gloves, trunks and robes worn inside the ring; signed promotional photos and posters; jewelry including watches from Rolex, Cartier and Patek Phillippe and Holyfield’s 1962 Chevrolet Corvette. The event is scheduled for Nov. 30 at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills.
“From his humble beginnings as a teenage boxer in Atlanta, to his storied and fabled career inside professional arenas around the world, Evander Holyfield has demonstrated his commitment to excellence at every opportunity he has been given, enabling his professional record, and his fists to speak for themselves,” read promotional material with the auction announcement.
It made no mention of the sad circumstances likely behind the auction: The Champ is broke.
“When it falls, it falls, ” Holyfield said during an exclusive interview with Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Bill Torpy last month.
The interview took place as Holyfield was being evicted from his 109-room mansion in Fayette County. Here’s a link to a gallery of photos showing the house. He was candid about his predicament but struck a hopeful chord looking forward.
“The only time you’re broke is when you have no ideas,” Holyfield said during the interview last month. “I’m a winner. I believe on Earth you will be tested. I have been tested.”
In the latest blow, Holyfield was interviewed at this summer’s London Olympics – but the NBC reporter he spoke to didn’t recognize him, and just talked to him like any other fan. He was a good sport about it, though, tweeting: “When I do the Today show I will be sure to wear a shirt that has my name on it, front and back. Probably carry a sign as well for back up!”
Such was not the case during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, when a fearless reporter from Holyfield’s hometown elbowed past security to get a word with him. Hmm. I wonder if I can find that story … oh wait, here it is!
Reporter: JENNIFER BRETT
Publication: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Beijing — The Olympic boxing venue had a famous guest sitting in the VIP seats Monday night. Atlanta champ Evander Holyfield stopped by to take in the action.
“It’s a great venue, and the people are nice, ” he said. “But very structured.”
Security is strict, bordering on suffocating, here. And yet, sometimes things loosen up. Darting past some guards (which we don’t recommend and will never do again, promise), we managed to get down to the cordoned-off area where Holyfield sat, hoping for a few words. Immediately, security fanned out all around us.
But the sight of the boxing great proved even more compelling than the opportunity to roust an unauthorized person from the swank-seats section. Guards snapped pictures of each other with Holyfield while we talked briefly and tried passing him things to autograph. He politely declined.
Holyfield, who said he will fight in Beijing in November, will be here through the closing ceremonies. He’s been taking in boxing and basketball and said he’s trying to relax some. Fans might recall he’s been through a bit of a rough patch back home lately, with financial woes and the specter of foreclosure looming.
On Monday night, he wanted to talk boxing and Beijing.
He’s seen great changes in China since his first trip in 2000, and he’s glad to see more comforts of home cropping up around town.
“I’m not accustomed to Chinese food, ” he said. “But they have Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonald’s, so I’m OK.”
- Jennifer Brett/The Buzzfirstname.lastname@example.org