After watching Evander Holyfield, 43-10-2, 28 KO’s, struggle and then quit against journeyman Sherman “Tank” Williams, the first thought was that the “Real Deal,” a 48 year old former champion, needed to quit the sport before he got hurt.
The on again/off again return to the ring from Mike Tyson could be on again after seeing exactly what Holyfield had left in that outing with Williams. Iron Mike is living a cleaner life then he ever has before and is mentally better then he’s ever been. A recent comeback plan went nowhere when Tyson decided that he just didn’t have the love for the game anymore, but will redemption against the man that gave him his most humiliating defeat prompt him to lace up the gloves again?
You would have to assume that the options for Evander are few. He is 48 years old and has been pushing for a title shot with either Wladimir Klitschko or his older brother Vitali, both world heavyweight champions and both would send out “The Real Deal” on a stretcher should the boxing commission be foolish enough to sanction a fight.
It was evident in the Frans Botha fight that the reflexes are non-existent for Holyfield, and Sherman Williams exposed it even more so. To the credit of Holyfield, he trains with the same ferocity that made him a champion, but there is only so much a 48 year old fighter with 55 fights and a long amateur career can do.
Keep in mind all of the wars that Holyfield has had throughout his career. He fought Riddick Bowe 3 times, going twelve rounds twice in wars and then getting stopped in the third in another war. He went to war with George Foreman, Mike Tyson, Ray Mercer, Alex Stewart, James Toney, John Ruiz, Michael Dokes, and the list goes on and on. There is only so much a fighter can take before they crumble and fade and he is a shot fighter.
When Mike Tyson first considered a comeback and Don King began putting together a team to bring him back to fighting form, Holyfield was on the radar, but the plan was to get Tyson some less than mediocrities to get him used to fighting in the ring. Make no mistake, the plan was never to get Tyson into a title shot with the Klitschkos. It was a farewell tour, or was supposed to be, and not with the diminished skills and reflexes of Holyfield, there is a chance that we could have Tyson-Holyfield III.
Tyson has been on the shelf since 2005, leaving the sport after disappointing losses to Danny Williams and Kevin McBride. At this time, he was fighting strictly for the money, and it showed as he showed no fire and little aggression. Against McBride, he just followed the lumbering giant around the ring, never making a move, and it cost him.
What would a 44 year old Tyson do in the ring today? It would be interesting and the curiosity would sell.
With a record of 50-6, 44 KO’s, the immediate observation has to be made. He could punch. In fact, he is one of the biggest punchers in heavyweight history and, in his prime, was unstoppable. He gave Andrew Golota a concussion with one punch, stopped men that were typically durable early in fights, and became the most feared man on the planet.
Tyson is responsible for bringing the masses to boxing, making the sport an attraction again, and the game has suffered immensely with his departure. The Klitschko brothers cannot sell a fight in the states. Tyson was able to sell on his name alone. When he fought the terribly mismatched Peter McNeeley, the fans tuned in, making it one of the most popular pay per views of all time. If he were to return, the reaction would be tremendous.
When I got the word that Tyson was initially coming back to the ring and reported it, the media world jumped all over it and it was everywhere. It was the biggest buzz in boxing, and don’t think for a second that Don King isn’t in the ear of Tyson pushing him to the return.
Holyfield is slated to fight Brian Nielsen, a portly feather-fisted fighter that has been on the shelf for 9 years. Amazingly, the WBF is sanctioning the fight as a title fight, which tells you all you need to know about Holyfield’s title and his claim to be a “Five Time” world champion. Nielsen is more the speed of Evander at this point and it is absolutely possible that there will be an upset. At this point, Holyfield could lose to anyone. That fact and the contract that King has for a Tyson return may bring the fans an unlikely third encounter between two of boxing’s best.
Mike Tyson, six years away from the sport, is still a huge name, known worldwide, and is responsible for bringing the attraction back to the game. If he were to return, the newspapers would sell and the people would go crazy. In the states, there is no fighter at the moment that is stirring the fans. Oscar De La Hoya is retired and, even at his best, could not bring the excitement of a Tyson. Neither can Manny Pacquiao. Tyson was the most exciting fighter of all time and would bring his devastating punch and a new attitude to the ring in the comeback.
Boxing is in the blood of any fighter that becomes champion and that is why we see so many former champions returning to the ring against all odds. They cannot give it up and it becomes a voice calling them back. Holyfield listens to the voice and if Mike does soon, Tyson-Holyfield III may just materialize.