To remix a phrase from Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino, “1996 is not walking through that door”. The sooner Roy Jones Jr. and Evander Holyfeld realize that, the better their chances of remembering 1996 years from now are.
This month the boxing world has been forced to see two of their greatest sons continue to drag on careers that should have ended years ago. Win, lose, or draw no longer registers with the boxing public in regard to their fights; it’s them making it out of the ring alive that’s of importance nowadays.
Despite being two years from half a century of living, Evander Holyfield is still willing and allowed to step into a squared circle. Yes that’s right, Evander “Real Deal” Holyfield is 48 years old.
Earlier this month, Holyfield fought and defeated Brian Nielsen in Germany, but apply no credence to that fight. Nielsen is 46 years old and has never been anything more than a journeyman who’s now past his prime, that is if ever he had one. Regardless of opponent, Holyfield has no place inside a boxing ring in 2011.
Although he’s younger in age, the case of Roy Jones Jr. is worse than that of the elder Holyfield. Not many can say they dominated to the extent that Jones did in the 90’s. Jones had no equal in the skill or charisma department at the height of his success making it all the more sad to see what he’s been reduced to.
Jones success inside the ring opened doors that others could only dream about. Jones had multiple endorsements, flirted in the music industry, and even worked for HBO as a boxing analyst between his bouts. Where Holyfield has shown some level of skill although minimal, Jones has just looked flat out done.
The image of Jones falling face first to the mat in the 10th round this past weekend is enough to make even his biggest detractor grimace and should have made Holyfield think twice about boxing again. Legacies removed, Jones and Holyfield are tarnishing their health.
Muhammed Ali, the greatest to ever do it suffers daily as result of putting off his retirement. You would think that those who grew up idolizing him would remain vigilant of the what could happen from staying in the ring too long. As a matter of fact, it can be considered a slap in the face to Ali that Jones and Holyfield are willing to push their health aside rather than call it quits.
It’s blatanly obvious that Jones and Holyfield are fighting for checks nowadays. Holyfield can preach that unification of the heavyweight title rubbish, but we all know his reason for subjecting himself to such punishment is income based. His bad investing and child support struggles have been widespread news for years now. The real deal with the Real Deal is that it’s all for a dollar. Jones on the other hand owes his, your, and my uncle millions. We all know Uncle Sam doesn’t half step about his money, but Jones shouldn’t kill himself to pay taxes.
At 38 years of age after being knocked out to a lesser degree than Jones but nevertheless, Mike Tyson closed his career by saying…”It’s time to move on with my life”. Jones and Holyfield would be wise to take the advice of their comrade and do the same while they still can.