On June 26, five-time heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield informed RingTV.com that he was officially retiring, saying, “I’m done.”
But less than a month later, Holyfield more or less changed his assertion to a definite maybe.
“You know, like I’ve told everybody,” said Holyfield, during a Monday evening interview with RingTV.com, “I have the right to say something and I have the right to change my mind. As of right now, I believe that it’s over.”
Holyfield, who turns 52 in October, will be inducted into the Nevada Hall of Fame on Aug. 9 at the Cohiba Ballroom of the New Tropicana Las Vegas, where he initially said that he expected to officially announce that he was leaving the game.
“No, I’m done,” said Holyfield, during last month’s interview with Tim Smith of RingTV.com. “They’re putting me in the Hall of Fame on the 9th, so it will be official. Won’t nobody fight me, and now, I don’t want to get hit.”
But Holyfield appeared non-committal on Monday.
“That night [at the Hall of Fame dinner,’] if I’m still thinking the same, then I will say that I’m retired,” said Holyfield. “My whole thing is that I told people that I was going to retire, but I didn’t say that I actually did it. When I do, I’ll do it.”
On Aug. 9, Holyfield will be honored by former undisputed heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, whom he defeated twice — once by 11th-round stoppage in November 1996, and by third-round disqualification in their return bout. Their second meeting was the controversial ear-bite fight in June 1997.
Tyson will present Holyfield with his induction trophy as he enters along with George Foreman and former multi-division champ Roberto Duran.
“I think that it’s a situation that is good for both of us. I think that it’s good for the game. We’ve got together after all of these years, and we’re doing what’s necessary for the entire game of boxing,” said Holyfield, adding that he and Tyson buried the hatchet over their in-the-ring fracas long ago.
“Forgiveness was instant. I forgave him when I told him that I forgave him because that’s what I believe in, and I practice what I believe. Mike is not a kid any more. He’s a grown man, and he realizes what he did was wrong and he just wants to change. But everybody has issues, and everybody falls short somewhere.”
DAUGHTER OF STEVE CUNNINGHAM FIGHTING FOR HER LIFE
Kennedy Cunningham has lived her life with a bravery and fortitude that has inspired her father, Steve Cunningham, a former two-time IBF cruiserweight titleholder now campaigning as a heavyweight.
An 8-year-old who is fighting to survive hypoplastic left heart syndrome, Kennedy Cunningham is in need of a heart transplant. The Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh agreed to evaluate her for the life-saving surgery and on June 25, she was accepted into their program and added to a list of potential transplant recipients.
The news in June had followed a harrowing situation in April, when the Cunninghams were informed that Kennedy was not a candidate for a heart transplant.
“I’ll never forget the day I got the call from my wife with the news,” Steve Cunningham stated in a press release from his promoter, Main Events. “I broke down like never before. I lost it. I was in the middle of my training camp for a must-win fight. People close to me told me I should pull out of the fight, that it was too much for me,” continued Cunningham, who was preparing for April’s unanimous decision over Amir Mansour.
“But I knew that I had to fight for Kennedy. She has been through so many battles in her life and has never once given up, and I was not going to let her see her father quit. I turned my sadness and fear into determination, and on fight night, I had to dig deep. But it was that determination that got me up off the canvas twice to win.”
The Cunninghams, nevertheless, face mounting medical bills. In addition, the Cunninghams’ have to travel Pittsburgh one to two times monthly for appointments. They have to be ready at any time to jump on the road should they get the call that she has her new heart waiting for her, and once that happens, they will literally be in a race against time to get her there.
The Cunninghams live 4.5 hours from Pittsburgh, and will have to remain there for at least six months post-op, so housing must also be arranged. A fundraiser set up to help offset mounting medical costs and accommodations to be close to hospital in Pittsburgh. To donate, go to http://www.heartbyfaith.com/
“We will never give up on Kennedy,” said Cunningham. “We are so blessed and excited that The Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh has agreed to take her on and list her.”
CARLOS MOLINA-CORNELIUS BUNDRAGE MOVED TO OCT. 11
Carlos Molina will defend his IBF junior middleweight belt against mandatory challenger Cornelius Bundrage on Oct. 11 in Cancun, Mexico, rather than Sept. 6, the promoters informed RingTV.com on Monday.
The fight is still scheduled to happen at the Grand Oasis Hotel, said Bill Waller, adviser to Bundrage.
“The reason for the change is that that was just a date that works better for us,” said Leon Margules of Warriors Boxing, who promotes Molina. “We have more time, the venue was available, and we’re working on a Mexican television deal.”
Margules also said that the new date is more advantageous because it moves the bout away from the Sept. 13 Showtime Pay Per View clash between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Marcos Maidana at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“You don’t want to go the week before the Mayweather fight, and you don’t want to go the week after the Mayweather fight,” said Margules. “You don’t want to go the week of the Mayweather fight, so the date just works better for us.”
Molina signed with powerful advisor Al Haymon soon after his release in early May following two months of incarceration. Molina had been arrested in Las Vegas on March 4, just four days before he was to defend against unbeaten Jermall Charlo, for a 2007 warrant in Wisconsin for failing to register as a sex offender in that state.
A Mexican citizen who resided in Chicago until immigration issues prevented him from staying in the U.S., Molina won his belt by dethroning Ishe Smith last Sept. 14.
Molina will have been out of action for more than a year when he meets Bundrage, a 41-year-old former beltholder who was last in action for a unanimous decision over Joey Hernandez in January to rebound after being dethroned by Smith following a majority decision in February 2013.