BASN Boxing Notebook: Holyfield-Savarese Draws Near

By Francis Walker
Updated: June 17, 2007

Boxing Gloves NEW YORK — In less than two weeks, Evander Hoyfield (41-8-2, 27 KOs) resumes his storied comeback when he challenges Lou Savarese (46-6, 38 KOs ). “Holyfield vs. Savarese: The Road to the Heavyweight Championship” will be broadcast live on pay-per-view at 9 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 30, from the Don Haskins Center, in El Paso, Tx. The suggested retail is $29.95.

“I wish the fight was this Saturday,” Holyfield’s trainer Ronnie Shields recently stated. “I’m going to bring him down now even though there’s still two weeks to go before the fight. That’s how ready he is.”

Shields added that he doesn’t see any difference from the Holyfield he trained 20 years ago from the 42 year-old that is “eyeing another world title fight.”

“Still the same speed and he works just as hard,” Shields added. “Evander is wise and he uses his knowledge to the fullest. I guess some people as they get older they find it harder to have goals. He’s not like that. He always sets goals for himself.”

Holyfield and Savarese are both 3-0 in their recent comebacks. Holyfield has beaten journeyman Jeremy Bates (TKO 2), former heavyweight title challenger Fres Oquendo (W 12), and Vinny Maddalone (TKO 3).

Savarese, who has KO’d his last three opponents since returning from a two-year layoff last year, is training in New Mexico and sparring with National Amateur champion Justin Jones.

“I like to get away from the distractions, and New Mexico works logistically,” said Savarese, who lost to Mike Tyson, George Foreman, and Michael Grant. “Plus it’s closer to El Paso and it’s a lot drier.”

Savarese, who doesn’t spar as much as he used to, added: “When I fought George Foreman I sparred up to 150 rounds in camp. For this fight I’ll spar maybe 25-30 rounds. There’s no point in going into the ring and getting banged around and risking injury. Sparring is more for learning. At this stage of my career I use it mainly for execution.”

McCall Eyes Possible Title Shot

Oliver McCall, the man who knocked out Lennox Lewis with his eyes closed to win the WBC heavyweight title nearly 14 years ago, has earned the WBC’s highest-available ranking. McCall (51-8, 36 KOs), at age 42, defeated Sinan Samil Sam (27-4, 15 KOs) in Turkey to earn a shot at the WBC title against whomever it may be.

McCall, may have to wait though because, WBC champion Oleg Maskaev has an overdue mandatory defense against No.1-ranked Sam Peter in September. The winner will face WBC “Champion in Emeritus” Vitali Klitschko, who will face Jameel McCline in September.

McCall, to his credit knocked out Maskaev in one round eleven years ago, more than likely could wait more than one year before he cashes in on another world title shot. Therefore, McCall is open about the possibility of giving Sinan a rematch.

It was September of 1994 when McCall knocked Lewis out in the second round of one of the biggest upsets in boxing history. Two months later, George Foreman became the oldest heavyweight champion when he KO’d Michael Moorer in the tenth-round for the unified WBA/IBF titles.

McCall successfully defended against the legendary Larry Holmes before losing it to Frank Bruno in September 1995. McCall hasn’t fought for a world title since he was found weeping and slobbering in a corner during rematch with Lewis for the then vacant WBC heavyweight crown in September of 1997. Lewis was awarded a fifth-round TKO win after McCall, who has never been knocked off his feet, refused to defend himself.

McCall has restructured his career since the Lewis disaster. McCall has lost only once in his last twenty-six outings. McCall’s only loss was a close 12-round decision against DaVarryl Williams in November of 2004.

Malignaggi Wins IBF Jr. Welterweight Crown

Paul Malignaggi executed a magical display of speed, movement, and some power during what may have been a career-best performance. Malignaggi (23-1, 5 KOs) won the IBF junior welterweight championship following a dominant unanimous decision victory over Lovermore N’dou (45-9-1, 30 KOs) on June 16, at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut .

The 26 year-old from Brooklyn, was simply too fast, too quick, and too accurate for N’dou. Malignaggi would throw double, triple-jab combinations. N’dou, 35, Transvaal , South Africa , is a very strong 140-pounder.

However, N’dou simply didn’t have the speed or the timing to keep up with Malignaggi. Ducking, weaving, and countering N’dou’s jabs and looping shots, Malignaggi controlled his opponent with jabs, movement, and effective counterpunching.

In the sixth round, N’dou was deducted one point by referee Eddie Cotton for rabbit punching. Malignaggi, who cut on the left side of his eye, knocked N’dou to the mat after landing a straight-right to his chin.

Malignaggi was simply too good, as his dominant performance was clearly reflected on the official three judges at ringside scorecards: 120-106 (twice) and 118-108.

Dirrell Decisions Stevens In Minus-Action Fight

Malignaggi-N’dou, televised on HBO, was supported by an unfulfilling co-featured disappointment. 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Andre Dirrell (12-0, 7 KOs) barely engaged in any exchanges during a unanimous 10-round decision against Curtis Stevens (17-2, 12 KOs ).

All three judges scored the bout 97-93 (twice) and 98-92. Dirrell simply jabbed and moved away from Stevens, who repeatedly followed his unbeaten opponent around the ring in circles.

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