Former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield is starting out his 2010 with a new attitude and plans to return to the ring!
Holyfield has challenged Francois Botha for the lightly regarded WBF title. Organizers of the fight in Kampala’s Nambole Stadium said on Thursday that both fighters had signed contracts and they predict a turnout of about 80,000 fans.
Holyfield (42-10-2) has not fought since losing a points decision to Nikolai Valuev about a year ago but the 47-year-old, also a former cruiserweight champion, believes a victory could give him a shot at a more prestigious title that would allow him to achieve his goal of retiring as a heavyweight champion.
Holyfield has earned more than $200 million in the ring, including a reported $34 million for his second bout with Mike Tyson in 1997. That was the “Bite Fight” that ended with Tyson being disqualified for chewing off a chunk of Holyfield’s ear.
A new battle between the Holyfield and Tyson would probably draw big bucks, but Mike isn’t up to fighting anymore. Both have faced severe financial hardships over the years after fighting for a billion dollar industry. The two met again on last year’s Oprah where they squashed their beef and Mike apologized for the infamous “bite” [CLICK HERE if you missed that reunion].
Holyfield’s last two fights were losses to Sultan Ibragimov and then to Valuev, a majority decision he disputed. Since then, Ibragimov has retired and Valuev surrendered his WBA title to David Haye.
Botha (47-4-3) has lost to Tyson, Lewis, Wladimir Klitschko and Michael Moorer, but retained his WBF title by drawing with Pedro Carrion of Cuba in Germany in October.
The two were planning to hit the ring in Uganda on Jan. 16 but we all know Holyfield isn’t ready. The fight has already been postponed to late February to give the fighters more time to prepare.
According to ESPN, Pro Box Promotions manager Eddie Bazira said Monday that the fight will be held Feb. 20 in Uganda instead of the originally scheduled Jan. 16 date.
Let’s all say a silent prayer for Evander and all them dayum bills…