On March 16, it was announced that Mitt Romney and Evander Holyfield will square off at a charity fundraiser to be held at the Rail Event Center in Salt Lake City on May 15. Sponsorships for the black-tie event will range in cost from $250,000 down to $25,000. Organizers say that “heavy hors d’oeuvres” will be served. There’s a rumor afloat that anyone in attendance who can spell “hors d’oeuvres” will be given a “Stop Hillary” T-shirt.
The event is designed to raise funds for Charity Vision, an organization that donates medical equipment to doctors and medical facilities in impoverished countries.
Holyfield, age 52, last fought on May 7, 2011, when he knocked out Brian Nielsen in round ten.
Romney, 68, last entered the ring on November 6, 2012, when he was stopped in the late rounds by Barack Obama. One month later, the defeated presidential candidate attended the December 8, 2012, fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. After Pacquiao was knocked unconscious, Romney sat in the first row with a look of horror on his face as Manny’s spit bucket was kicked over and the slop spilled onto Mitt’s shoes.
Holyfield-Romney is being billed as a “sparring session” in order to avoid Utah’s stringent licensing requirements for professional boxing. According to Josh Romney (one of Mitt’s sons), it will share the card with two other bouts to be contested between “active professional fighters.”
Like Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, Holyfield-Romney has been heavily scripted. However, the “Fan-Man” and Mike Tyson ear-bite incidents make it clear that Evander’s fights don’t always follow the script. Get ready for the following:
April 6 – Posters trumpeting “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble” herald Holyfield-Romney.
April 9 – The WBC announces that Holyfield-Romney will be for its super-interim-silver-emeritus championship belt.
April 13 – Mitt Romney signs with Al Haymon.
April 15 – ESPN.com reports that USADA has contracted to test both fighters for PEDs. “I wanted VADA,” Holyfield is quoted as saying. “But Mitt refused.”
April 18 – Shannon Briggs interrupts Romney and his wife while they’re dining at Spago in Beverly Hills, grabs a hunk of Mitt’s pate foie gras, and wolfs it down. “It tasted like chicken liver,” Briggs says afterward. “And Mitt is a chicken because he won’t fight me.”
April 20 – Romney receives a letter from an attorney representing Michael Buffer threatening to sue the promotion for infringement of Buffer’s “let’s get ready to rumble” trademark.
April 23 – Al Haymon announces a time buy on Fox with Holyfield-Romney as the main event.
April 27 – “I won’t hurt Mitt,” Holyfield tells reporters during a media teleconference call. “Just a couple of jabs to the face.”
April 29 – Mitt Romney begins asking people, “What does it feel like to get hit in the face by an Evander Holyfield jab?”
May 1 – During an interview with Fox news, Romney praises Holyfield for the sincerity of his religious beliefs and Evander’s “Mormon-sized family.”
May 3 – Backers of Jeb Bush grow concerned that Romney might use the Holyfield fight as a bridge to evangelical Christians and the launching pad for a 2016 presidential campaign.
May 7 – George W. Bush meets with Holyfield and tells Evander, “We’ll give you a million dollars if you knock him the f— out.”
May 7 – “A million dollars is a lot of money,” Evander says thoughtfully. “I could use a million dollars.”
May 9 – I’m taking this fight very seriously,” Evander tells reporters. “A good showing here might get me a fight against Wladimir Klitschko.”
May 11 – Reports reach the Romney camp that Evander has been “punching pretty hard” in the gym.
May 12 – Holyfield meets with Klitschko adviser Shelly Finkel and asks, “If I look good against Romney, that would put me back in the mix; right?” . . . “One thousand percent,” Finkel answers.
May 15 – Holyfield-Romney goes the full three-round distance. “I saw openings but I just couldn’t pull the trigger,” Evander admits afterward.
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On a serious note –
Do you remember Dante Craig?
The 36-year-old Cincinnati resident was a national Golden Gloves champion and member of the 2000 United States Olympic team. He turned pro as a welterweight in 2001 and won eight of his first nine bouts before lifestyle issues got in the way.
Craig’s record is now 20-and-19 with 1 draw. He has been knocked out in 14 of last 19 fights (of which he won three). Worse, he fought his last fight at 236 pounds.
Thomas Hauser can be reached by email at email@example.com. His most recent book – Thomas Hauser on Boxing – was published by the University of Arkansas Press.