Evander Holyfield last fought in a professional boxing match in May 2011 when he beat 47-year-old Brian Nielson via TKO. With that in mind, you might have been surprised to hear that Holyfield decided to retire earlier this week. If you were aware of his fight against Nielson, you probably figured Holyfield had already retired. Nope. On Monday, Holyfield told Sports Illustrated that he would officially announce his retirement at his 50th birthday party on Friday. Or not. The day after Holyfield announced he would announce his retirement, he told Sports on Earth’s Shaun Powell he would not retire.
“I already told people I was going to retire,” he told Sports on Earth on Tuesday, “but this morning, when I woke up, I thought about it some more. Now I’m not going to retire. One can change his mind, can’t he?”
Holyfield is 2-0 with a no contest in three fights since 2010. The Real Deal was out of boxing for 22 months between 2008 and 2010. Now, nearly a year and a half after his last fight and a 24-hour retirement, he’s ready to get back in there.
He’s in amazing shape for his age. Almost everything else about him sports a potbelly, though. He hasn’t had a meaningful fight in nine years, the boxing establishment all but tuning him out. His ringside seats, when he does fight, don’t draw A-list celebrities or four-figure price tags anymore. The New York State Athletic Commission banned him seven years ago because of “diminished skills.” Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko, the brothers who represent the only big paydays in the heavyweight class, said they’ll fight anyone but Holyfield, their hero, out of respect.
“I can beat them,” Holyfield said. “I feel I can beat anyone.”
That’s nice of the Klitschko’s who themselves are getting a little long in the tooth. (Wladimir is 36, Vitali is 41) As for Holyfield, the motivation to try and find more fights might not be purely from needing a competitive outlet.
As for Holyfield’s finances, they’re bloodier than some of the faces he battered in his prime. He was evicted three months ago from his dream house, a 54,000 square foot hunk of marble and stone with 17 — no, that’s not a typo — bathrooms. A treasure trove of his memorabilia will be auctioned in November, including his cherished Olympic bronze medal and the trunks he wore in the infamous Bite Fight. Meanwhile, court documents say a boxer who earned roughly $230 million is hundreds of thousands behind on child support payments he may never make.
The worst part about this story is that it is completely unsurprising. Just another deleted scene from Broke.
[Sports on Earth, SI, Getty]