I just saw this article on ESPN.com about Evander Holyfield. It seems he is in talks to fight Nikolai Valuev for the Heavy Weight Title. Holyfield will be 46 when this fight takes place. If he wins that would make him the oldest Heavy Weight Champion ever.
The oldest, of course, being George Foreman, who was 45 when he defeated Michael Moorer in what is high in the running for the damnedest things I’ve ever seen.
When Foreman came out of retirement to resume his boxing career it was HUGE news. The fact that he fought respectibly and even recaptured the title was unbelievable.
If Holyfield wins this fight, it will be moderately interesting at best. Here’s why.
1.) Holyfield has never really retired. He’s been fighting off and on for a while now. He fought last year.
2.) I have no idea who Nikolai Valuev is. I have a passing interest in boxing and I’ve never heard of this guy.
3.) Holyfield has not looked good in his recent fights. He’s not making a comeback, he’s dragging his tired body through the most prolongued retirement tour anyone has ever seen.
4.) Foreman retired, or at least stopped fighting in 1977. He didn’t return to the ring for over ten years.
5.) And this is the big one. George Foreman was central to some of the most classic fights in history. He fought Muhammed Ali and Joe Frazier when he was in his prime. When he came out of retirement boxing had entered an entrirely new era. Ali and Frazier were long gone from the sport. It was the era of Mike Tyson. When Foreman returned to the ring he fought Evander Holyfield. And he fought him well. When Foreman won the title at 45 he defeated Michael Moorer who had taken the title from Holyfield. Foreman bridged two distinct eras of boxing and fought the best fighters in each era. No Tyson fight, but if Tyson hadn’t been in jail, that may have happened as well.
6.) Are we even in a era of boxing? Holyfield fought Lenox Lewis (and lost). Lewis retired. There are some Russians and Eastern Europeans out there boring the hell out of everyone. But many of them have fought some of the same people that Foreman and Holyfield both fought. There’s no bridge. It’s just the same road that is winding toward the least significant place I can think of.
Let’s call it the Lexington, KY of boxing.
Thus ends the longest I’ve ever written or thought about boxing.