Evander Holyfield returns to boxing ring one more time

December 19th, 2008 - 5:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Boston, Dec 19 (DPA) Evander Holyfield steps into the ring for one more time Saturday when the 46-year-old former heavyweight world champion takes on giant Russian Nikolai Valuev in Zurich.The American’s attempt at gaining the WBA title has divided boxing fans with many thinking it is time for the veteran to hang up his gloves and spend time with his 11 children in his 17-bedroom mansion in Atlanta rather than risk injury against the 2.13-metre Valuev, who has lost just once in 50 bouts.

The New York Times even went as far as to ask if Holyfield is “courageous or crazy” but the boxer has dismissed the criticism, saying he has at least one good fight left in him.

“I have respect for that. But that’s just your opinion. I have an opinion, too,” he told the paper.

Holyfield will step into the ring in Zurich with a record of 53 fights broken down into 42 wins, 9 defeats and two draws.

Although he will receive a purse somewhere in the region of 600,000 to 750,000 dollars for fighting Valuev, Holyfield shouldn’t need the cash as he has amassed career earnings in excess of 200 million during his 20-year career, including 35 million for just one fight with Mike Tyson.

“If I had a hundred million dollars, two hundred million, I would still fight because I have a goal,” he said.

Holyfield’s last success of note came eight years ago when he defeated fellow American John Ruiz for the WBA heavyweight title to become heavyweight champion for the fourth time.

But since then he has lost four out of 11 fights, the latest defeat coming in his last fight in October 2007 against Sultan Ibragimov.

While Holyfield argues that his reflexes are as quick as eight years ago, even members of his family aren’t so sure. Two of his daughters pleaded with him to retire for good but to no avail.

“I control my life. I make my decisions. I wouldn’t be wasting my time doing something I don’t think I can do,” he said.

Victory against Valuev would give Holyfield a fifth heavyweight title and see him become the oldest fighter to reclaim a championship, eclipsing George Foreman, who did it against Michael Moorer at age 45 in 1994.

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