Sharkie's Machine: Valuev by Majority Decision over Holyfield
By Frank Gonzalez Jr., exclusive to Doghouse Boxing (Dec 21, 2008)  
In spite of earning over 200 Million during his career, Holyfield is reportedly on the verge of financial ruin. Holyfield was paid less than a million dollars for this fight—his smallest cut ever for a title fight. Maybe he should take some of that money and open up a Sports Bar/Restaurant. He might call it, “Holyfield’s Real Deal Steak House.” At least then, he might have something to fall back on when his boxing career finally ends. Can you imagine a commercial for the place on TV, with Mike Tyson coming in for an order of Steak with fried ear lobes that look like little chicken nuggets?

Saturday in Zurich Switzerland , 46 year-old former champion, Evander Holyfield (42-10-2, 27 KO’s) was on the menu for Russian WBA titlist, Nicolay Valuev (50-1, 34 KO’s). During the 1990’s, Evander Holyfield was a great champion but by now nearly 20 years later, Evander’s physical abilities have naturally faded. Father Time is not on his side in his quest to become the “Heavyweight Champion of the World.”

Interestingly, Holyfield wasn’t even ranked in the top 15 after losing to Sultan Ibragimov over a year ago and has lost five of his last nine fights. Suddenly, leading up to this fight, Holyfield was ranked at #12 by the WBA. With all due respect, I think Holyfield should hang up his gloves already. But, so long as he’s physically fit and cleared by medical officials to fight, he does have the right to keep his quest alive.

Valuev vs. Holyfield on Pay-Per-View was yet another example of what is destroying boxing’s fan-base around the world. Why would anyone pay to see a current titlist fighting a 46 year old former champion who’s lost five of his last nine fights? It must be the name recognition thing.

Valuev, at seven feet tall, moves with the grace of a pregnant Yak. He used his long jab with limited efficiency against a man eleven years his senior. Surprisingly, it was a competitive fight. Holyfield proved good enough to go the distance and some may argue that this fight could have been a draw, since neither man dominated the action. In the end, Valuev was declared the winner by ‘Majority Decision.’ The scores were; 116-112, 115-114 for Valuev and 114-114 even.

This fight started at a slow pace. Holyfield landed the cleaner blows early on, a couple of clean lefts, and then used his legs to keep out of Valuev’s range. Valuev used his jab, which was slow and often easy for Holyfield to avoid. Early on, it seemed that Holyfield was winning the fight with his better mobility and more effective punching. His agility was superior to the big man in front of him. But as the rounds progressed, Valuev’s slow motion jab was starting to find the mark more frequently and on occasion, he would also land a few counter rights. Midway into the fight, Holyfield again proved to be busier and more accurate with his offense. The Swiss crowd cheered whenever Holyfield did well.

As the rounds grew deeper, Valuev increased his activity and was finding Holyfield an easier target and he took control of the action for the next few rounds until the ninth, when he caught Holyfield with a clean left that stunned him a bit. After that, Holyfield stepped it up and then rallied in the tenth, landing some good combination punches. The last two rounds were more of the same, with neither man dominating the action.

Though this victory marked Valuev’s 50th win, that accolade did little to impress the crowd or improve Valuev’s marketability. The crowd cheered for Holyfield and booed Valuev after the scores were announced.

Considering that Wladimir Klitschko fought and beat a ‘past his prime’ Hasim Rahman by TKO 7 just last week and Valuev would fight another ‘past his prime’ fighter in Holyfield a week later suggests that the logical match up would have been Wladimir Klitschko vs. Nicolay Valuev. I’d pick Wladimir to win that one, as I imagine Valuev’s handlers had to figure the same. For them, Holyfield has a big name and was the safer bet. For a sport that’s supposed to be about competition, there is little discernable logic in how boxing matches are made these days. I can only imagine what boxing would be like if the guys at the top HAD to fight the top contenders instead of hand picking their opponents.

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