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Evander Holyfield: Should He Retire?

Evander HolyfieldAfter watching 45 year-old Evander Holyfield (42-9-2, 27 KOs) lose by a lopsided 12-round unanimous decision to World Boxing Organization heavyweight champion Sultan Ibragimov last October 13th in Moscow, Russia, my thoughts were that Holyfield needs to retire from the ring as soon as possible. Unlike others, I hadn’t bout into Holyfield’s excuses about his shoulder problems – which required surgery – as being the reason he’d looked so bad between 2002 and 2004, a time in which Holyfield has lost three out of five fights. He looked old, and there could be no other reason for it than that.

Against Ibragimov this past October, Holyfield looked much the same – unable to pull the trigger, bad reflexes and poor punch out put. I felt that Holyfield had done nothing to deserve the shot at Ibragimov in the first place, considering that Holyfield had fought four journeyman after having come back from his two year layoff, and hadn’t fought one top 10 fighter to deserve the to fight a champion. Not surprisingly, Holyfield was out-gunned by Ibragimov, looking as if he didn’t belong in the same ring with him. It wasn’t even slightly close, as Ibragimov toyed with Holyfield, hitting him whenever he pleased, dancing away untouched on the outside.

Afterwards, instead of realizing that he’s gotten out and calling it quits, Holyfield vowed to continue with his goal of fighting for and winning another heavyweight championship belt. However, at this point in time, it’s difficult seeing who would ever give him a chance at doing so, much less him actually winning the fight. None of the current heavyweight champions – Wladimir Klitschko, Ibragimov, Oleg Maskaev, Samuel Peter or Ruslan Chagaev – have mentioned Holyfield’s name when discussing future opponents. In fact, his name never gets mentioned at all since his defeat to Ibragimov.

I suppose now, if Holyfield wants another shot at a title, he’s going to have to get in line with the other top contenders and focus on beating them, one by one. I figure, Holyfield will have to beat at least two-three top contenders if he wants to fight for another title, but the problem is, who would want to give him a shot? It’s unclear which of them would want to fight someone as old as Holyfield. Even worse, who could Holyfield actually beat at this point? I have a hard time seeing any of them that Holyfield could defeat at this point.

Sure, he’d have a knockout shot at beating any of them, including the champions like Klitschko and Maskaev, but beyond that, he’d be hopelessly out of his league against them. That’s not to say that any of them would be able to beat a young version of Holyfield, because I seriously doubt any of them could beat a prime Holyfield. The problem is, Holyfield isn’t in his prime any more and hasn’t been in, say, 10 years, maybe more.

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