The Real Deal?: Holyfield Goes For Five

By Tom Donelson
Updated: August 6, 2007

IOWA CITY, Ia . — What was originally schedule to be a potential unification bout between WBO champion Sultan Ibraginov and WBC champion Rustian Chagaev has now turned out to be Evander Holyfield’s last opportunity to win a Heavyweight title.

With Chagaev out due to a mysterious illness, Holyfield was given the call to come to Moscow on October 13th and fight for the WBO title. The real question is how much is left in Holyfield’s tank?

Holyfield is one of boxing’s great heavyweights and one of the best over the past three decades but at 45, He has not escaped the clutches of father time.

While his most recent comeback has seen him score four impressive wins and there are times that the old Holyfield has returned but the reality is that Evander is still an old fighter.

His comeback has come against opponents who were has been’s or never were’s. The opposition has ever been second -tier opponents at best or contenders far past their prime.

His most recent demolition of Lou Savarese was the most recent example.Yes, Savarese was once a contender, but at the age of 41, he has seen better days.

Holyfield did not beat a prime Savarese, just an old Savarese.

Holyfield has but one goal, to win the Heavyweight title one more time. Actually, he wants to be recognized as the unified title holder and his stubbornness has propelled him into continuing to fight. The reality is that James Toney and Larry Donald exposed Holyfield for the old fighter that he was and his comeback is more an illusion.

The reason that Sultan Ibraginov has allowed Holyfield to fight for the title is simple — Holyfield is a name fighter. Holyfield’s name still sells and his four straight victories adds to the illusion that he’s still the “Real Deal” and rediscovered the fountain of youth.

The realty is the opposite. Ibraginov is not one of the great heavyweights and his championship run came as a result of upsetting Shannon Briggs as well as the fact that there are plenty of belts to hand out.

Ibraginov is a solid boxer-puncher and has enough talent to be a serious top ten fighter.And he has the skills to embarrass Holyfield. Evander is hoping that history will repeat itself.

In 1995, George Foreman stopped Mike Moorer in one of boxing’s great upsets as the 45-year old-Foreman came back to win a fight that he was losing. Moorer was a southpaw heavyweight just like Ibraginov, but Moorer was one of the better heavyweight in the 90’s.

Holyfield’s chance is that Ibraginov is not in Moorer, but Big George had what Holyfield can’t match at this stage of his career; the great knockout punch.

Foreman possessed the great equalizer whereas Holyfield never had the Foreman one punch knockout power and it has been a while since Holyfield had knocked or stopped a top ten fighter.

Ibraginov may not be able to stop Holyfield, but he has enough boxing skills to out point him and he will be boxing in his backyard, in Moscow. Now does anyone truly think Holyfield can win a decision in Moscow?

Holyfield has to win by knockout and the real question, can he win by knockout?

When Foreman beat Moorer, he was behind on points and only could win by knockout. Big George had the punch and Holyfield doesn’t.

Which is why Holyfield is pursuing windmills.