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Evander Holyfield Fails to Face Reality

BY Rick Folstad ON March 08, 2004
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I was hoping we were going to start missing him, that the farewell speech was written and memorized and just days away.

Like Lennox Lewis, I was hoping he already decided to saddle up his tired horse, say his overdue good-byes and ride off into that already faded sunset.

So much for high hopes.

Evander Holyfield never saddled the horse. He never went near the barn. He just remembered what it was like to be heavyweight champion of the world and decided it was a good feeling. And at 41, he'd like to have it again.

Maybe he's just an adrenalin junkie, a poor guy hooked on the excitement, challenge, danger and high drama of the fight game. A different kind of monkey on his back.

It's a disease, that kind of high. It keeps old fighters in the ring too long, and though they might not jump off a building suddenly believing they're Peter Pan, they can still pay a steep price for their addiction. If you're in your 40's and you can't remember where you live or why you're standing in the middle of the grocery store with a list in your hand, you're not going to be a lot of fun to be around.

If Holyfield keeps this up, he might want to consider carrying his address tucked inside his wallet.

I understand why he's stuck around the last few years. He was still trying to hold onto the high, still trying to find that right combination of strength, speed, endurance and ring smarts that come with age.

Or maybe he just kept waiting for the caliber of heavyweights to take a header, and then he could move in and claim a title or two.

But it didn't happen. Instead, he's won only two of his last eight fights, which are tomato-can numbers regardless of who you're fighting.

In Holyfield's last fight, former middleweight champion James Toney made him look like an old man, which is what he is in fight years. Evander's corner mercifully threw in the towel. They saved him from a severe beating and might have cost themselves a job at the same time.

But he still wants to fight, even though his legend becomes a little more tarnished every time he steps into the ring.

At a news conference this week, Holyfield said that if he didn't believe he could still win all three heavyweight title belts, he wouldn't be fighting.

Contact the authorities. That statement alone should be enough to force the commission to conduct tests.

Holyfield also announced he has a new management team behind him called the Avondale Management Group.

The new group is experienced in marketing and entertainment, but not in boxing. That's good. Ignorance is bliss. If they don't know anything about the fight game, maybe they can't be held responsible.

But new management isn't going to bring Holyfield back to the fighter he once was. Neither is a new corner, a new philosophy or a new attitude.

The one thing that could bring him back is a DeLorean outfitted with a flux capacitator.

Too bad time travel happens only in the movies.

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