I love this guy, but I hope he doesn’t get hurt. He’s still a warrior. Watch the movie of him going back to the gym also.
Marotta: Obsession fuels Holyfield comeback
Many people have questioned why Evander Holyfield has decided to make a comeback at the age of 43, two years after his last fight.
FOXSports.com asked Rich Marotta, who will be the analyst for Holyfield’s comeback fight on Friday night’s Best Damn Sports Show boxing telecast, what he thought was behind the former champ’s desire to lace up the gloves again.
FOXSports.com: Why do you think Evander’s still fighting?
Rich Marotta: I think Evander is not fighting for the money, nor fighting really for glory from the public. I think he’s in pursuit of a goal that has become an obsession for him, which is to be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.
Obsessions can be dangerous at times. I know there are people who think it’s dangerous in his case. But I believe he’s fighting because he has this goal. He’s had it for over a decade, and he’s still in pursuit of it.
FOXSports.com: So he still believes he can be the champ?
RM: Holyfield honestly believes he can be the champion. To be truthful, this is not really a stellar group of champions, nor a stellar group of contenders we have now. The question is: Has he slipped so far, that he can’t contend with this group anymore. That’s what Friday night will give us a hint about.
FOXSports.com: Do you think he really thinks he’s that good a fighter, or does he look at the current crop of heavyweights and say, “I can beat these guys,” considering the competition?
RM: I think in Evander’s mind, he has legitimate reasons for his losses in his last couple of fights ? basically, injuries. I think he’s looking at it more form his own standpoint, rather than from the standpoint that it’s a bad group of contenders and champions out there.
He’s been working out in the gym, he’s still tremendously conditioned, he still has the body of a god. And he believes he still has the stuff to become champion.
In his mind, it’s more about him, that he can still do it now that he’s injury-free, rather than that it’s a poor crop of fighters out there in the heavyweight division.
FOXSports.com: Do you have any idea what he has left as a fighter?
RM: Well, I saw his last fight, like everybody else, against Larry Donald. And in that fight, he didn’t do much of anything. He just stood around for 12 rounds. And Larry Donald just kind of picked and poked at him for 12 rounds.
It seems as though in that fight he fought a good first round. It seems as though in his previous fight against James Toney he fought a very good first round, but after that he didn’t have a lot to offer. He claims, again, that it’s injuries that have done him in, the shoulder injuries. But he’s had surgery and he’s had two years off. He says he’s 100 percent healthy.
I’ve seen all these fights. But in the Larry Donald fight, there were the tell-tale signs of a fighter who’s over the hill. Basically, a fighter who sees an opening and can’t pull the trigger, and basically a fighter who’s just standing around, waiting to do something, but can’t mount an assault. Also, he looked like he was not able to react as quickly defensively to stop the other guy’s punches.
FOXSports.com: You mentioned before that there are people who think it’s dangerous for him to still be fighting. Are there people around him who can say to him, “Evander, you’re done,” but he’s not listening to them, or are these people not telling him that because there’s still money to be made if he keeps fighting?
RM: Well, I think the people around him were doubtful, were skeptical when he announced this most recent comeback. But at least they claim that they have changed their mind during the course of his gym work, that he has looked fantastic in the gymnasium.
And that may be true. We’re just going to have to see. We’re going to have to see on Friday night. In boxing, it’s a situation where all you really need is a slight dulling of the reflexes and then you become extremely vulnerable. It may look like the same guy, but if he’s a split second slower, it could spell trouble for any fighter, let alone Evander Holyfield, as great as he has been and as special as he has been to boxing.
FOXSports.com: Do you think fans can expect to see at even a slight resemblance to the Evander Holyfield they saw in his prime?
RM: I wouldn’t say they won’t see a fighter who looks really good Friday night. He’s in there with a journeyman heavyweight. He’s not fighting a champion like James Toney, a champion like Chris Byrd, a champion like Lennox Lewis. He’s in there with a journeyman heavyweight.
So, it’s possible, if you have the combination of him facing much lesser competition with an injury-free situation, that Evander might look really good Friday night. And if that’s the case, I’m sure he’ll continue on.
FOXSports.com: What can you tell us about Jeremy Bates?
RM: Jeremy Bates is pretty much your average “have gloves, will travel” type of guy. He seems unafriad. He wants to show that he’s deserving of at least fights against mainline opponents. He has fought some recognizable opponents, but he’s been beaten by them. he hasn’t been able to take the step up in class and win. He has stepped up in class and fought some guys that are recognizable to boxing fans, but he’s lost against those guys.
He does have a hard right hand. He’s a fairly hard puncher, especially in the early rounds. That’s where his chance lies if Holyfield can’t get off the mark.