Done 'Deal' Holyfield has to quit
By Gary Pino (December 1, 2004) 
Photo © Marty Rosengarten
This week I have been able to get back into the heavyweight division after the birth of my child Kody, whom by the way is built just like a mini Mike Tyson! But on a serious note I decided to take time to divulge into Evander Holyfield’s future and legacy in the sport of boxing in its current state. It’s been three years now, and I along with most heavyweight fans have been lobbying for Holyfield to fight Tyson and get out, or just get out period and ride off into the sunset, while he still knows his name and his hometown.

Holyfield’s latest disaster was his loss to journeyman/spec on the boxing radar, Larry Donald. Once again, Holyfield was beaten to the punch every round to the point where someone really has to tell his managers and handlers, “Please stop him from continuing this madness!” Holyfield, after his defeat at the hands of Donald, said “I want to not only regain the title again, but unify it!” This is a bold statement from a fighter who cannot even seem to win his tune-up fights for a shot at a belt. Don King planned to give Holyfield a shot at Chris Byrd, but after the loss to Larry Donald at MSG, who is going to want to tune in to see Holyfield fight Byrd? Granted, Byrd has looked lackluster in his last two fights, but one would think he too would be able to handle Holyfield rather easily.

The New York State Athletic Commission has pulled the plug on Holyfield’s license to fight here on the east coast. At this point, this was a major step in the right direction to put an end to a brilliant career, and a class act of the sport. It would be a travesty to see this continue at this rate. Holyfield is sounding more and more like Riddick Bowe in his interviews, with his speech rapidly changing for the worse, and I fear he may already have some sort of neurological damage. And this is not a fighter who is flat broke with no food on the table. Holyfield has been very smart managing his millions throughout his career and could have walked away years ago while he still was on top and fully functional.

Some fighters get better with age, and some get worse as time goes on, but the truth is Holyfield has nothing left in his tank but the fear of finding something else to do with his time. Right now I seriously doubt he could work as a ring analyst with his speech on a rapid decline. Maybe he could train fighters, or do something else in the boxing industry that will satisfy him so he will not crave getting back into the ring again.

Whatever he decides, it will be the most defining decision of his career. As an athlete his time has passed and he can walk away with one of the most brilliant careers in heavyweight history. He has fought in some classic wars over the last decade. A student of the game who always came into the ring in the best shape possible and I, as a fan of the sport of boxing, want to see him be able to actually walk away from the ring, instead of wheeled away in a chair. I wrote an article a few months back on Holyfield’s decision to have 'yes' men in his corner, and the revolving door of guys he sent packing because they told him the truth about his skill level and advised him to quit. Fact of the matter is Holyfield’s name has very little marketing power anymore. Quite the contrast for Mike Tyson. Tyson still has speed, power and is a pay-per-view draw even at this late stage of his career.

I want to remember Holyfield for what he was, and that was a great champion. But this is starting to become a tragic story that has to come to an end before something serious happens to him. There is no need for this to continue, nor is there anything he needs to prove. In a sport full of evil endings, this one does not have to end in a 'Lights Out' fashion.
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