The cut on his left eye certainly didn't look like the sort of wound that would force a man with the confirmed mettle of Evander Holyfield to stop fighting. But there he was on his stool after the third round at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia on Saturday night.
His trainer Tommy Brooks asked him if he wanted to continue, just a few seconds after opponent Sherman Williams blasted Holyfield with an overhand right, which almost sent him to the mat. Holyfield, a man who in 1997 fought on after Mike Tyson BIT OFF A CHUNK OF HIS EAR, didn't lobby to continue, apparently, because the fight was halted after the third, and declared a no contest.
Without being in the corner, and seeing if he was appraised by a physician, and administered a test to gauge his vision, it's impossible to state with certainty what went on after the round, but at the least, we didn't see the warrior Holyfield on display after he got whacked around by Williams in the third, and a convenient exit route was given to him.
A doctor looking at Holyfield after the fight was stopped talked about an artery being hit, which didn't jibe with the fact that the cut wasn't streaming blood at all after the ref, Dave Johnson, had decided to call the night.
Holyfield mumbled postbout about being headbutted, and his vision being impaired, and basically said he was fine with the no contest because he felt that Williams would continue to head butt him.
Williams (age 40; from the Bahamas; 34-11-2 entering) weighed 258 pounds, while Holyfield (age 48; living in Georgia; 43-10-2 entering) was 224 pounds on Friday. Holyfield's WBF title was on the line in the feature bout on the pay per view event, tagged "Redemption in America."
In the first, Holyfield showed good bounce in his legs. His body still puts any age man to shame. His volume was weak but Williams wasn't busy either. His mouth, though, worked hard, complaining about Holyfield's head butts.
In the second, Williams looked to land left hooks every so often. Holyfield was the busier of the two, but he knows how to conserve energy, for sure. He did toss a couple combos, however, it must be said. A butt caused a cut on Holyfield's left eye towards the end of the round.
In the third, Williams scored points with an overhand right. Holyfield worked behind a tepid jab, which did nothing to keep Williams from winging the right. One of those rights almost sent Holyfield to the mat with five seconds to go in the round. Trainer Tommy Brooks then asked him if he wanted to quit, because of the cut.
Somewhat bizarrely, before the main event, a man in a tux whose name wasn't stated sang "Born to Run" while Clarence Clemons, of the E Street Band, sat next to him and blared on the sax. Does Springsteen know about this?
Kevin Johnson (23-1-1 entering), who stepped in three days ago for an ill Travis Kauffman, met 7-1 Julius Long (15-14 entering; weighing 300 pounds) in a heavyweight tangle, set for eight or fewer. Long isn't the most coordinated guy in the game. Johnson slipped smartly most of what the giant threw. Lennox Lewis chatted with announcers Al Bernstein and Benny Ricardo during the second round. As Lennox blathered on, in the manner which forced HBO to let him go last year, Johnson lit into Long.
KJ used a stiff jab to good effect, but neglected the very obvious terrain to mine, the body. Long had a bloody nose, and was losing his battle to scarf enough oxygen to sustain himself by the end of the fifth. But he stayed in the game, mostly because Johnson's power is less than devastating. But it was enough, via a weak right hand, to send a lagging Long to the mat with 1:10 left in the eighth. He did it again, with a left-push, with 40 seconds on the clock. The judges saw it 79-71, across the board for Johnson.
Five months ago, Monte Barrett swore up and down that his next fight, against David Tua, would be his last. But his plans changed. A business deal fell through, and thus, his retirement plan went out the window. Barrett, age 39, coming off a draw with Tua, gloved up against Charles Davis in a fight scheduled for eight. David had his moments; the lefty shot straight lefts which caught Barrett. Monte perked up in the fourth, after his corner gave him the what for. Davis hurt Monte with a body blow in round five. Monte tried to give a possum look, playing up his what "pain" he was in, but he didn't fool anyone.
Davis was huffing and puffing more in the sixth. Monte's hooks, absent early, were landing and having impact. The seventh was tight and it looked to be up for grabs in the eighth. The judges did indeed have the final say after a round in which Barrett showed fire, and a desire to land a power right. The tallies were 77-75 (Davis), 76-76, 76-76, resulting in a majority draw. You can consider that a loss for the 34-9-2 Barrett. Davis, a loser of four straight entering, is now 19-21-3.
In the PPV opening bout, unbeaten Detroit middleweight Willie Fortune (10-0, 5 KOs) won an 8-round split decision against Lithuania-native Donatas Bondoravas (10-2-1, 3 KOs) in a spirited bout.
In one of three off-PPV fights, Detroit middleweight Domonique Dolton (10-0, 6 KOs) kept his undefeated record intact, pitching a complete shutout (80-72 three times) versus veteran Marcos “The Terminator” Primera for an 8-round unanimous decision.
NABA Heavyweight Champion Cedric “The Bos” Boswell (33-1, 26 KOs) successfully defended his title, knocking out Dominique “Diamond” Alexander (19-10, 9 KOs) in the second round via the three-knockdown rule.
Cleveland junior welterweight Miguel “Silky Smooth” Gonzalez (13-2, 12 KOs), 2008 U.S. National AAU champion, dropped Ramon Che” Guevara three times in the sixth round for an automatic knockout victory.
HERE ARE POSTFIGHT QUOTES FROM THE FIGHTERS
Evander Holyfield: “I’m very disappointed. He fought the way he should have. He understood he would have his head low when he threw the overhand right. If I didn’t move back, we’d clash heads. It was to his advantage to get lower because he’s short. Being that short he had to fight that fight. He didn’t have to, he chose to.”
Stuff like this happens and I’ll shake it off. Hopefully, I’ll get this stitched up and it won’t be a problem. Life goes on, it’s part of boxing.”
Sherman Williams: “I’ve had my own personal setbacks. To get over what I did was a miracle. I trained hard for this fight. I was fighting a legend and I can’t take anything away from him. I feel like I should have won by TKO. I cut him with an overhand right, but I respect him.”
“I root for him. He’s almost 50 and still training and performing. I admire what he’s done but it’s time to let younger guys fight and older guys do television commentary. He’s not as good looking as I am. You’ve made sacrifices, won 4 world championships and fought in the Olympics. But this is a new time, a new era. Mr. Holyfield shouldn’t be taking punches from younger guys. That’s how I feel. It’s time for him to move on but, if he wants, we can do it again.”
“After the first round he was falling into my trap. When he felt I was in retreat…bang with the overhand right, and that’s when I saw blood.”