Evander Holyfield: An Aging Warrior Returns

He’s been lacing up the gloves since 1984. Even longer if you consider his years as an amateur. In the many years since, Evander Holyfield (38 wins (25 KOs), 8 losses and 2 draws) has re-written the book on boxing: Olympic silver medalist, light-heavyweight champion of the world, four-time heavyweight champion of the world, the only individual who had what it takes to dismantle Mike Tyson, and one of the few professional boxers who has held on to his money (an estimated 250 million dollars give or take a million).

Thing is – a lot of boxing critics and a whole lot of boxing fans just don’t understand why the man continues to box. His most recent match – a second-round TKO over Jeremy Bates on August 19th and his FIRST WIN in nearly 4 years was the beginning of what is being referred to as “Holyfield V, The Final Chapter,” which he fully expects to end with him becoming the heavyweight champion again.

For those who didn’t catch the fight, Holyfield rocked Jeremy Bates (21-12-2) into the ropes late in the first round, took some punishment – including a shot to his face – early in the second round, then cornered and hammered his insurance-salesman foe to earn a technical knockout with 4 seconds left in the stage, capturing his first victory since a TKO stoppage of ex-champ Hasim Rahman back in June 2002.

Is Holyfield crazy? He still has his brain cells. At least some of them. Why not just walk away from it all?

Ill tell you why: the man is still hungry. He wants to be world heavyweight champion a record-five times. And you know what? The heavyweight division is so messed up right now, that Evander Holyfield just might pull it off.

He’s already talking about his next fight: a proposed November contest against fringe heavyweight contender Sinan Samil Sam (ranked 5th by the lightly regarded World boxing Association). Assuming Holyfield wins that fight, a follow-up with a top-five contender or *GASP* a title fight for one of the lesser heavyweight belts is not that much of a stretch.

I do not want Evander Holyfield to get his lights punched out and become the next poster-child for pugilistic-dementia. Muhammad Ali already has a lock on that job. I just think that Evander Holyfield should be able to continue to earn a living in the manner he sees best. The fact that his method of earning a living involves taking a lot of shots to the head and kidneys doesn’t make his career choice any more or less important than the individual who sells cars or cuts grass. Evander Holyfield continues to box because he has a goal that just-so-happens to be an obsession. Or maybe he feels it’s the only thing he can do well. (Dancing with the Stars is not an option at this stage). If all of us were as obsessed with winning and had the kind of stick-to-it-iveness that Evander Holyfield does there’s no telling how far we could go.

Now, Evander Holyfield is also an extremely religious man. He feels that the good Lord has a plan for him and has taken him down this road. Certainly, it’s been a road full of twists and turns. And challenges. His last three losses – to Larry Donald in 2004, James Toney in 2003 and Chris Byrd in 2002 sent a strong message that maybe the Lord had other” plans for him instead of boxing. Those losses sure made an impression on the New York Boxing Commission which stripped Holyfield of his boxing license.

But the Lord works in mysterious ways. Holyfield got his boxing license back in the state of Nevada. And now has an open agenda ahead of him just waiting to be penciled in.

Americans love a comeback. That’s why the Rocky series has made so much money over the years. Whether Evander Holyfield can regain the championship is a script that is still being written. But until that does or doesn’t happen it’s going to be a thrilling ride waiting to find out.

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