Holyfield Fights On

By Francis Walker
Updated: October 18, 2004

Evander Holyfield

NEW YORK, NY—-Evander Holyfield is boxing’s most proven warrior. He’s the second man in history to Muhammad Ali to capture the heavyweight title four times. It was believed that Holyfield was finished after James Toney TKO’d him last year. But thirteen months later and at 42 years of age, Holyfield is making another comeback.

On Sat., Nov. 13, at the famed Madison Square Garden, Holyfield’s quest to earn another title shot continues when he faces Larry Donald. The bout will be on a Don King promoted HBO/Pay-Per-View heavyweight card featuring WBA heavyweight champion, John Ruiz vs. Andrew Golota and IBF champion, Chris Byrd vs. Jameel McCline.

Holyfield will be remembered as a legendary fighter, a future Hall-of-Famer. Holyfield has fought and defeated 10 former or current heavyweight champions. He has had trilogies with Ruiz and Riddick Bowe. He has also fought Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis twice in pay-per-view record breaking events. Holyfield also had memorable fights against Hall-of-Fame heavyweight champions Larry Holmes and George Foreman. The list is ongoing and continuous.

Holyfield is the only fighter to have won undisputed championships in both the heavyweight and cruiserweight classes.

Despite an illustrious and ongoing career, Holyfield has not had much success since his last successful heavyweight title defense in Sept. 1988.

Holyfield has lost 4 of his last 8 bouts that included the most famous and controversial draw in heavyweight title history against Lewis in March 1999. Also, key losses to Ruiz, Byrd, and Toney.

Holyfield’s last victory was 2½ years ago when he rocked former heavyweight champ, Hasim Rahman toward earning a technical 8-round decision.

Despite losing frequently, Holyfield always positioned himself to remain in the heavyweight title picture.

However, in 2004 with 2005 near, Holyfield’s head is barely afloat among top heavyweight contenders. Out of the three major sanctioning bodies, Holyfield is ranked only No. 13 by the WBA. To earn a title shot a fighter must be ranked among the top-10.

Holyfield did not want to let an entire year following a loss to prohibit him from being a contender in 2005. So Holyfield elected to fight Donald, a fighter once compared to Ali because of his fast footwork and quick hands.

Donald never gained the respect of the boxing world after Bowe assaulted him at their pre-fight press conference in 1994. During their fight Bowe chased and Donald ran entire 12 rounds. Donald did not win a single round.

Donald had two previous attempts to earn a world title shot, but in 2001he dropped a 12-round decision to Kirk Johnson and was TKO’d in 10 rounds by Vitali Klitschko in 2002. Both fights were elimination bouts.

The winner may not get a title shot, but at least the winner will be an attractive commodity in King’s eyes and will continue to be showcased as a featured fighter. The winner continue to take part of a round-robin of heavyweight fights which may lead to an eventual title bout since King has both champions, Ruiz and Byrd under his promotional banner.

But if Holyfield, at 42, defeats Donald, who wants to see Holyfield-Ruiz IV or Holyfield-Byrd II?