Evander Holyfield’s Return Shows Boxing Has Fallen To An All-Time Low
More recently fighters are continuing their careers as fossils well beyond their prime years. In some cases such as eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao, they are successfull. However, this is not always the case. Hall of Fame inductee Evander “Real Deal” Holyfield (44-10-2, 29ko), at the age, 58-years-old returned after a ten year retirement against former MMA champion Vitor Belfort on September 11. The results were the saddest reality check for everyone as the Real Deal suffered a humiliating first-round stoppage.
Holyfield comes from an era where fighters were warriors, gladiators, and conquerors. They were hardcore old school fighters down to the bone! Back in that era, fighters had to go through a gauntlet before getting a sniff of a world title opportunity.
A BRIEF LOOK BACK IN TIME
Holyfield’s entire boxing career is an inspiring story. In 1984, he won a Bronze Medal in the Olympics as a light heavyweight. Moreover, he is a two-divisional undisputed champion that despite having a successful cruiserweight run, his accomplishments at heavyweight are what fans remember the most.
As stated by my colleague here at 3kingsboxing, when Holyfield became a professional, the movie “Terminator” and TV show “Dynasty” were popular almost four decades ago.
Taking it a little further, pagers (often referred to as beepers) were popular and the cell phone of choice was the Dyna TAC 8000X from Motorola called “The Brick Phone”. Now, some of you will undoubtedly have to use google to search this information at it was that long ago.
HOW FAR THE SPORT HAS FALLEN
Holyfield’s losses in the latter part of his career were not as bad and cringe-worthy as to what fans witnessed on September 11.
The two-time undisputed champ was picked as a replacement to fight Belfort when Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya pulled out due to contracting COVID-19. Holyfield was worse than just a shell of himself. He was unrecognizable in the ring. The reflexes, movement, ability to take a punch were all gone. Triller should be ashamed for broadcasting the fight and the commission that licensed Holyfield is not without blame.
However, the outrage on social media from the boxing community looking for a culprit to blame need only look into a mirror. If it sounds like this author is angry, be assured that is not the case. However, the sport needs to take responsibility for how it no longer operates through morality. What is happening is a direct result of a failed system’s inability to produce noteworthy fights. Including, the boxing community tolerating the excuses from the networks, promoters, and fighters themselves for not being willing to take the risk.
The phrase “for the good of the sport” is just a bunch of shallow words.
THE ACCEPTED CIRCUS SHOW
Youtube brothers Jack and Logan Paul have invaded the sport with successful Pay-Per-Views while being promoted on the same level as boxing. In 2020, past their prime former undisputed champions Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr sold 1.6 million units. The first fight to sell over 1 million units since Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin locked horns back in 2018.
After that disgraceful victory, Belfort called out boxing as a whole. Holyfield despite being humiliated, now aims at a third fight against Tyson. Even retired David Haye made a good piece of change fighting some Billionaire named Joe Fournier. Then in the aftermath, he had the audacity to use this win as a branch to elevate him back into contention at heavyweight by calling out WBC champ Tyson Fury!
This is where the sport is today. Boxing as a whole needs to turn this around or it will be lost forever.
By: Garrisson Bland