58-year-old Evander Holyfield addresses health concerns of boxing return: ‘I’ve been taking care of my body’

Thanksfuly Holyfield was just stopped in round 1 and hopfully fights fans will never see him trying to box in the ring again.

Boxer Evander Holyfield’s trunks have the spiritual writing Phil. 4:13, which means “I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me,”.  Holyfield has given fans bone-chilling action in the ring. Naturally, it made sense that he relied on a powerful force outside of his boxing skills especially given that in that ring a fighter can be killed. 

Holyfield is 58-years-old and a former heavyweight champion who in a few hours, will make his offensive and disgusting return to boxing taking on Vitor Belfort, a former UCF fighter, at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Fla.; the fight is eight two-minute rounds on pay-per-view.

It’s beyond reason that anyone would take this fiasco seriously, outside of showing grave concern for Holyfield’s safety.  And if there’s a time when God’s intervention is needed, tonight is it.  Too often when a person dies before their time, to comprehend the difficult moment, we say God brought that person home.  We hope this isn’t the case for narrow-minded Holyfield.  

Holyfield turned professional in 1984, back then when he released the customary promotional video showing off his skills for an upcoming fight, fans often oozed and awed.  Yet, this week, when Holyfield’s workout video hit the internet, the reaction was a grave concern. The footage was horrid.  His reflexes were sluggish, there wasn’t an ounce of fluidity, and by the time the clip ended, it was clear that if not tonight, should he continue to box, he’s playing a dysfunctional game called permanent brain damage or death in the ring. 

In the late 1990s, Holyfield lost to a decent boxer named Michael Moore. Soon after the fight, it was discovered Holyfield had suffered from a heart condition. At the time, he made the right decision to distance himself from the sport. 

Call it boredom Holyfield embarked on this odd crusade with so-called faith healer Benny Hinn—a phony pastor who gave desperate churchgoers false promises that he could heal members who were afflicted with severe conditions such as blindness.  

Evander Holyfield, 58, will face Vitor Belfort, 44, on Sept. 11 in Florida. Amanda Westcott, Triller Fight Club

Holyfield went along with the ride which was the wiser choice. The only issue was Holyfield appeared to get fiction with reality confused. As Hinn ran toward him on stage, offering healing by shoving Holyfield’s chest, which caused the fighter to leaped from his feet and scatter wildly once he hit the ground; Holyfield believed the faith healer was offing a real-life miracle.

It was later discovered that Holyfield suffered from a condition where the heart could not pump enough oxygen through the blood to the muscles and tissues. Further tests also revealed that the boxer had a small hole in his heart. The hole between the two chambers of the heart was not life-threatening.

Healed heart or not, the fact that the morally corrupt and unsophisticated Florida commission gave Holyfield the greenlight to fight tonight is disparaging and belittling to the sport.  As for Holyfield’s foolishness, he likely accepted the fight because he doesn’t have transferable skills outside of boxing in the big picture. 

He earned over 200 million dollars during his career, but today he is broke.  He brought an elegant 109-bedroom 54,000 square foot mansion, but he was too unsophisticated to recognize the ramifications. The home went into foreclosure for $7.5 million, although he owed more than $14 million. There was child support for eleven children he fathered, and alimony to three ex-wives. He owed the IRS more than $200,000, and they took most prize possessions—cars, boxing gloves etc.  

Boxing is a numbers game in which the odds of earning big paydays are slim and fortune comes at a price. Gerald McClellan was a feared boxer in the 1990s until he met madman Nigel Benn in 1995. After the fight, McClellan suffered extensive brain damage, lost his eyesight, ability to walk by himself, and 80 percent of his hearing.  Boxer Patrick Day died of a traumatic brain injury after being knocked out in his fight. And former boxer Frankie Randall died at age 59 from dementia after years of fighting in the ring.  I wrote about this 18-year-old who died last week after losing her boxing fight.

Holyfield has been in brutal wars during his career, and the possibility of brain damage cannot be dismissed.  For example, at one point during the final press conference for the Belfort fight, Holyfield thanked former President Donald Trump (who will be commentating on the fight tonight) for hosting his fight against former world champion George Forman in the 1990s at the Trump casino in Atlantic City; but Holyfield couldn’t recall where the significant fight took place.   Other times during the press conference, Holyfield sounded disjointed and clumsy. 

Holyfield’s relationship with his ex-wife Candi raised many concerns about the fighter’s cognition. He was never known to have a dirty reputation outside of the ring.  He was admired because of his appearance to be a stand-up person with strong morals.  Yet, the question of if he suffered from slight brain damage emerged in 2009. 

At the time, his ex-wife Candi filed a police report saying Holyfield hit her after she inquired why the heat was cut off at their home. Candi said Holyfield told her God was first and questioned if she had been paying her tithes; when she failed to produce the check stubs for the payments made to the church, she claimed he hit her.

“[Holyfield] has hurt me before and … been violent in the presence of children,” as she alleged in the court document.  She revealed the fighter’s abuse started six months into their marriage; during another incident, she said Holyfield choked her in front of their daughter and housekeeper, and he once struck her in front of their children.

For decades Holyfield chased Mike Tyson when Tyson was at the top of the boxing world. When the two finally met in 1996, Holyfield won both times, with the second fight being the most memorable when Tyson bit Holyfield’s ears. 

 In 2019, Mike Tyson returned to the ring and boxed Roy Jones Jr on pay-per-view, selling over 30 million buys.  To this day, Holyfield seems preoccupied with Tyson (he wants to fight him still).  Holyfield says Tyson’s comeback against Jones is the motivation for Belford.   But the difference is, Tyson no longer fights for money. He hasn’t taken many punches to the head, like Holyfield.

For Holyfield, this isn’t the case.  He doesn’t have the star power of a Tyson, and when Tyson fights for charity, that’s what it is, charity.  When Holyfield steps in the ring against Belfort, it’s for real; as harsh as this might sound, I don’t feel guilty saying this but if something serious happens to Holyfield in the ring, I will not be sad.  Holyfield deliberately deceives himself with the false belief that God has given him something special at this point in his career.  I hope Holyfield steps away from the sport on his own rather than being carried out on a stretcher fighting for his life.

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