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Evander Holyfield: Looking for Redemption in America Saturday Night

By Geno McGahee

The title of the pay per view is “Redemption in America,” a reference to the lack of American presence in the heavyweight division. It’s a great pitch for an old warrior that is well beyond his better days and, in all actuality, has little to no chance of recapturing any version of the title outside of the WBF Title he now holds.

Holyfield, 43-10-2, 28 KO’s, has always been an ego maniac in desperate need of the limelight and has this vision where he knocks out the Klitschko brothers, which is pure fantasy. But he is not fighting Wlad or Vitali, he is fighting Sherman “Tank” Williams.

Williams, 34-11-2, 19 KO’s, has not faced anyone with a pulse since 2005, a losing effort to Ruslan Chagaev. Since that fight, he has put together a record of 9-1, 4 KO’s, but the collective record of the winners is 140 wins, 121 losses, and 6 draws. He’s been facing career losers en route to this WBF Title shot, which he was granted despite his defeat in his last fight against a 12-0 Manuel Charr.

Holyfield is 5-5, 3 KO’s, in his last 10 fights, with most of his victories being over fighters of his generation that were spent forces like Lou Savarese and Frans Botha. To his credit, he did hold his own with former WBA Champion, Nikolay Valuev, but looked terrible in his victory over Botha. Had Botha not come in at 250 pounds, he probably would have won the fight. The reflexes of Holyfield are a thing of the past.

With Holyfield being 48 years old, the “anything can happen” storyline becomes the sale of this fight. We could be seeing Holyfield’s last fight, but I thought that when he was beaten to a pulp in 2003 by James Toney. Prior to that fight, he noted that should any fighter beat him convincingly and stop him, he would retire…but the limelight is calling and whether it is a financial pursuit, ego stroking, or a message from his God telling him to go on, he proceeds.

Although Holyfield has shown many chinks in his armor as a character, it cannot be disputed that he is an all time great, but at 48, a concern for his health must arise. What’s both a positive and negative has been the promotion of this fight. Holyfield has done a wonderful job bringing this bout to the attention of the public that crave an American heavyweight and people know the name “Holyfield.” I have little doubt that this card will be a success, but what is may sprout is the scary part.

Holyfield has a match set in March against Brian Nielson, a fighter that has been on the shelf for nine years. You may remember Nielson being hand selected for a returning Mike Tyson, being pummeled, and then stopped without much feedback. Holyfield knows that, even at this stage of his career, he can defeat a feather-fisted and rusty, Nielson and shouldn’t have much of an issue with Williams.

For those of you pulling out your wallets, ready to bet on the upset, does the name Tye Fields mean anything to you? In 2003, Williams was easily defeated by the towering mediocrity. Nothing on the record of Williams suggests that he will be in this fight, outside of the incredibly diminished reflexes of Holyfield.

The undercard is interesting with some more heavyweight action. Monte Barrett, 34-9-1, 20 KO’s, coming off his draw with David Tua, is looking to capitalize and also maneuver himself into another big fight. I would not be surprised if we see him across the ring from Holyfield in the future. Barrett has faced a lot of contenders of the years. He has faced Lance Whitaker (L-12), Jimmy Thunder (KO-7), Wladimir Klitschko (KO by 7), Tim Witherspoon (W-10), Joe Mesi (L-10), Dominick Guinn (W-10), Owen Beck (TKO-9), Hasim Rahman (L-12), Nikolay Valuev (TKO by 11), Tye Fields (KO-1), David Haye (TKO by 5), Odlanier Solis (KO by 2), and David Tua (Draw-12).

Barrett did revive his career with a draw with the past his prime, Tua, but his recent run is not impressive. He is 3-6-1, 3 KO’s, and is 39 years old, but still has some money fights in mind. What should be said is that Barrett never ducked a challenge and was often brought in as the opponent, only to surprise the rising star as he did with Guinn, Beck, and even Tua.

The opponent of the night is Charles Davis, 19-21-2, 4 KO’s. Davis has been in with some contenders, losing to Kevin Johnson twice (L-10, KO by 4), Dominick Guinn (L-6), and Elieser Castillo (W-6), but his recent run has been horrible with a record of 2-13-1 in his last 16 outings. He is being brought in as the opponent, but this is another “anything is possible” fight. Barrett was upset by Cliff Couser recently and Davis hasn’t been stopped that many times as a pro. This may be a fun scrap.

The 41 year old heavyweight contender, Cedric Boswell, 32-1, 25 KO’s, is returning to the ring against Dominique Alexander, 19-9-1, 9 KO’s. Boswell needs to make his run at the title soon. He his a good contender, putting together 11 wins since his sole defeat to Jameel McCline in 2003, a fight that he would have won if he had survived the final round.

Boswell knocked out the undefeated Roman Greenberg in two rounds and most recently beat up Owen Beck, getting the win in the ninth round. He is not great at any one thing, but he’s good at everything. He could be a player in the division but at 41, time is of the essence.

Alexander is coming into this fight after showing off his speed against Shannon Briggs. He was out in 20 seconds. That’s fast! He also was stopped in one round by Odlanier Solis, stopped in 2 by Kali Meehan, and has lost six of his last nine fights, all by knockout. Boswell is going to have some highlight reel footage here as he launches Alexander out of the ring in about a minute.

I’m glad to see Kevin Johnson, 23-1-1, 10 KO’s, back after his disappointing performance against Vitali Klitschko, where he went 12 rounds, did some fist pumps, made some funny faces, but never really pushed forward in an attempt to win. Much like Tony Thompson, he froze in his title opportunity, but he is now back and will be facing Julius Long, 15-14, 13 KO’s.

Long is coming into the fight on a six fight losing run, but he’s got a punch and he’s a fun fighter to watch. I expect Johnson to wear him down and eventually stop him late in the fight.

The thirty dollar PPV is not going to go down in history as the best card money could buy, but if you are following the continued career of Holyfield and want to tune in out of curiosity, then perhaps you will find value in it.

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