Heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield has announced that he will retire from the sport.
Holyfield, who turns 50 on Friday and has won four heavyweight titles and an Olympic bronze medal in his 29-year career, told Sports Illustrated that he's done all he's wanted to do in the sport and will make his retirement official during his birthday celebration in Los Angeles.
To the public, Holyfield's most memorable fight was in 1997 against Mike Tyson, in which the Tyson bit off a piece of Holyfield's ear because he couldn't hold him off. Since then, Holyfield's career has been lackluster with few wins, but during his prime he was a formidable opponent and was considered the "real deal."
Sports Illustrated writes:
"Many veteran observers will say the decision is long overdue. A little more than a decade ago, Holyfield was one of the most recognizable athletes on the planet, having generated more than a half-billion in pay-per-view receipts. Yet he won just eight of his last 18 fights. The New York State Athletic Commission banned him from boxing due to 'diminishing skills' in 2005, forcing Holyfield's more recent bouts to such inglorious outposts as White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., and Corpus Christi, Texas.
He'd spent the past few years campaigning for a shot at Wladimir or Vitali Klitschko, the brothers who collectively rule the heavyweight division, with the goal of retiring as champion. But each Klitschko brother — despite their mutual need for "name" opponents — rebuffed Holyfield's persistent overtures out of respect. ('He is my idol,' Vitali said in August. 'I can't do it for any amount of money.')
Holyfield's dream of regaining the titles had been derided as quixotic. Yet when wasn't Holyfield dogged by naysayers? Fact is, if Holyfield paid mind to his critics, his career would have never gotten off the ground — let alone reached the stratospheric heights he occupied throughout most of the 1990s."
Read the full story here.
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