Opinion: Nobody involved cared enough about Evander Holyfield

Evander Holyfield Vitor Belfort ropes

Amanda Westcott

Evander Holyfield took to the ring on Saturday night at the age of 58. Most people with a conscience knew it wouldn’t end well. Those involved should hang their heads in shame.

“The Real Deal” – banned from boxing by New York State back in 2005. He was also denied a license by the California State Athletic Commission days before the fight.

Still, the former heavyweight champion was actively encouraged and enticed to fight a month before his 59th birthday.

The result was a car crash defeat that will forever tarnish his fantastic legacy. Coming back, when there was absolutely no need for him to do so, dragged his good name through the mud.

A massive dose of “we told you so” can be aimed at the organizers of this event, but whether they actually care is another story entirely.

I mean, nobody cared enough about Evander Holyfield’s health to say, “you know what, this isn’t a good idea” – especially after witnessing the midweek workout.

Holyfield could not move around the ring effectively and could hardly throw a punch, let alone a combination. At that point, odds of +1100 on a Vitor Belfort first-round knockout looked mightily tasty.

Boxing was in an uproar about the contest taking place. Holyfield is a legend of our sport and didn’t need to get done like that.

But these days, our sport is more about money than ever. Previously, back in the 1990s and 2000s, we had the shysters who directly drained fighters of their cash. Nowadays, older warriors are getting paid good money [too good] when they can’t bring the product.

It’s a worrying trend and undoubtedly one that made Triller a lot of sales on Saturday night. Car crash TV sells. Everybody knows it.

However, doing it at the expense of potential long-term damage to a boxing hero will not endear that company to any real boxing fans. Whether they care about that fact is highly doubtful.

Vitor Belfort Evander Holyfield
Amanda Wescott

HOLYFIELD REPORTING

Talk on social media when websites like ours complain about Holyfield being able to fight, get responses like, “just stop reporting it” – but it’s not that easy.

It’s hoped that when a mass of opposition against something grows enough, someone might stand up and put an end to the madness.

Sadly for us, at this moment in time, it looks like this worrying trend is here for some time to come. At present, there’s a long line of former world champions waiting for the call to be paid seven figures for a worthless comeback.

Let’s hope none of them get seriously injured.

The views expressed in this article are opinions of Phil Jay.

Phil Jay is the Editor of WBN. An Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America since 2018. And a member of the Sports Journalists’ Association. Follow on Twitter @PhilJWBN.