Can Evander Deal With A Lefty?

BY Michael Woods ON October 09, 2007
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Admission time. Don’t make me come over there and hook up the polygraph on you, just be straight with me.

Much as maybe you don’t want to, you will in fact be shelling out a discretionary chunk of income on Saturday evening to see if the Old Man can do it.

Surely, you have something better to do, and maybe your long-suffering spouse or S.O. does as well. Surely, you could sock that $35 away, or put it into the kids’ college fund.

But you won’t.

And neither will I.

Because I’m curious to see of the Old Man can pull off a feat that we all deemed impossible three years ago, when Evander Holyfield looked the definition of the shot fighter against Larry Donald at Madison Square Garden.

The about-to-be 45 year old Holyfield (42-8-2, 27 KOs), who I deem only about halfway delusional now, as opposed to full on, Steinbrenner-level demented, says he can become undisputed heavyweight champion.

Easy old man, let’s see if you can handle Sultan Ibragimov (21-0, 17 KOs) before we start talking Wladimir, OK?

Apologies to 40-somethings everywhere, but I’m guessing that Real Deal will not be able to complete the first leg of his impossible journey to unification.

Ibragimov is no threat to do that either mind you; any man with a draw to Ray Austin on his resume, with all due respect, has announced loud and clear what he is, and isn’t, in the heavyweight ranks. But he is a lefthander, and Holyfield hasn’t seen many of those.

Michael Moorer fought from the flipped stance, and ‘Vander went 1-1 with him.

The first time they danced was April 22, 1994, and Moorer’s righthand jab gave Evander fits. Holyfield was holding the IBF and WBA titles at the time, and though Moorer had him in trouble repeatedly, he lost only a majority decision.

Rewind to postbout on that evening. "I was in the fight but maybe when I watch the tape I'll feel differently," Holyfield said. "His being lefthanded was a big problem. I trained for it but it was a problem."

And so it will be this Saturday, I’m afraid. Because I’d like to see the Old Man do it, because we are all getting old, and can periodically use little catalysts to convince us to push on, even if aching muscles or well-meaning loved ones tell us not to.

SPEEDBAG If ya’ll recall, Holy was sliced up by Moorer in that ’94 bout, but because he wanted to save some dough, he didn’t have Ace Marotta in the corner that night. Don “Jinx” Turner, who dismissed the need for a cut man specialist, didn’t stop the bleeding and that contributed heavily to the loss. Presumably, Holyfield won’t be pennywise on Saturday.

--Pernell Whitaker was on hand in ’94, and screamed at Holyfield to do the right thing, and move to his right. The shifty lefty knew what he was talking about on how to fight a lefty.

--That ’94 bout was Teddy Atlas’ most shining moment as a trainer. He went all Vince Lombardi, win one for the Gipper on Moorer, and the moody lefty responded.

--It must be said that Holyfield solved the lefty puzzle when he met Moorer again, in November 1997. He dropped Moorer, who wasn’t in a solid place mentally at that time, five times, and that bout was stopped in the eighth round. Moorer took off three years following that bout, so I tend to place more importance on their first faceoff, when mulling the lefty factor. Also, Evander was feeling particularly like God was his cornerman in that time frame; he’d just come off back to back wins over Mike Tyson.

--‘Vander turns 45 on Oct. 19.

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