Evander Holyfield: Is he our generation's George Foreman?
19.08.07 - By Brandon Desmond: On April 19th, 1991, I was 10-years old. It was a fight I will never forget. The come-backing George Foreman saw his latest efforts pay off as he was granted a shot at the then 29-year old undefeated, undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, Evander Holyfield.
Article posted on 20.08.2007
Aside from the fact that he was "old," and he had been the world champ back in the '70s, I didn't know all that much about him, but I do remember routing for "Big" George. After all, due to his age (42 at the time) he had been written off by most of the sports media, and was the underdog. What ensued was, in my opinion, one of the greatest heavyweight wars of all time. George Foreman would walk away without the title in, what I think, may have been a symbolic passing of the torch.
After a long, and storied, two-part boxing career, including KO wins over Joe Frazier (twice), Ken Norton, Ron Lyle, and a ten year layoff from the sport, "Big" George Foreman went on to score a come-from-behind one-punch knockout of Holyfield conquerer, Michael Moorer in 1994. On that night he regained the heavyweight title for the first time since losing it to Muhammad Ali some 20 years earlier. That win, plus the fact that George was 45 years old, made it one of the most magical nights in boxing history.
Fast-forward to 2004. Evander Holyfield has now had his own storied career. Like George Foreman, he has had the highest of boxing's highs, and the lowest of the fight game's lows. Great wins followed disappointing defeats throughout the 1990's. It was obvious to most that all of the great wars and punishments had taken a toll on Evander's body. Losing three straight bouts to fighters he would have mowed down in his prime, calls for his retirement were deafening, and coming from all around. Following his decision loss to Larry Donald, The New York State Athletic Commission suspended him indefinitely for "diminishing skills," despite him being able to pass a battery of medical tests.
Now, in 2007, Sultan Ibragimov and Ruslan Chagaev were supposed to give us the first heavyweight title unification since Lennox Lewis held the WBC and IBF titles in 2002. Unfortunately, Ruslan Chagaev had to pull out of the fight, siting an illness (reportedly Hepatitis B). It was announced a few weeks ago that Evander Holyfield will step in and face Ibragimov for the WBO heavyweight strap, giving him a chance at an unprecedented fifth heavyweight championship. With a win, The Real Deal will also tie "Big" George Foreman's record for the oldest ever world heavyweight champion.
The way Evander has been looking in his fights recently, I wouldn't write him off just yet. He's rattled off four consecutive wins since late 2006, including two impressive knockout victories. You can count on me routing for Evander Holyfield to make more magic and boxing history on October 13th.
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