Ex-Champ Holyfield Resumes Successful Comeback

By Francis Walker
Updated: November 16, 2006

NEW YORK — With all of the talk surrounding Wladimir Klitschko’s first defense of the IBF heavyweight title, a seventh round KO win against Calvin Brock on November 11, 44 year-old Evander Holyfield (40-8-2, 26 KOs) defeated a younger heavyweight contender in Fres Oquendo (26-4, 16 KOs) the night before.

Klitschko’s bout against Brock sold more than 14,260 tickets at Madison Square Garden . Klitschko-Brock was broadcast on HBO and was a pay per view event in Germany.

Holyfield sold more than 10,000 tickets at the Alamodome in San Antonio fighting in a pay per view fight against a former top-10 contender in a non-title fight.

Can you imagine if Holyfield was given a world title fight against Klitschko, Nikolai Valuev, Oleg Maskaev, or even Shannon Briggs?

Holyfield proved that he can still sell tickets and I am sure that boxing promoters, sports programmers at HBO and Showtime, public relations gurus at famed venues like the Garden, Boardwalk Hall, Mandalay Bay, and sports programmers at HBO and Showtime are paying attention to the fact that Holyfield, at his advanced age, still generates interest and continues to sell tickets.

Holyfield looked like he was 10 years younger when he TKO’d journeyman Jeremy Bates in the second round of their fight in August. It was Holyfield’s first victory in more than four years.

Instead of fighting another journeyman fighter, Holyfield fought a former two-time world title contender in Oquendo. Many believed that Oquendo boxed well-enough to beat Chris Byrd for the IBF heavyweight title in September 2003. Oquendo lost a disputed 12-round unanimous decision.

Hoyfield is now 2-0, 1 KO during his comeback. Holyfield has won two consecutive fights for the first time since he was the unified WBA/IBF heavyweight champion (1997-98).

Oquendo has a difficult style for Holyfield because, the younger 33 year-old Puerto Rican throws punches, jabs, and shows a lot of movement.

Holyfield, a boxer himself, is most dangerous when his opponents stand straight in front of him and is engaged in a slugfest.

Just review Holyfield’s fights against Mike Tyson (KO 10), Michael Moorer (TKO 8), George Foreman (W 12), Bert Cooper (KO 7), Buster Douglas (KO 2), and a trilogy with Riddick Bowe (1-2) to see how effective Holyfield is when he fights inside.

Holyfield dropped Oquendo in the first round and had Oquendo in trouble again in the sixth and seventh. Holyfield went on to win a close 12-round unanimous decision (117-111, 114-113 twice).

The only heavyweight title fights that makes sense would be world heavyweight championship unification series between Klitschko, Valuev, Maskaev, and newly crowned WBO heavyweight champion Shannon Briggs.

However, Holyfield is the last of the dominant heavyweight champions from the late 1980s-90s era. During that time frame, Holyfield, Mike Tyson, and Lennox Lewis were simply dominant and the most recognizable heavyweights in the world.

If Holyfield continues to win during his successful comeback, Holyfield should not be denied a world title opportunity.