Holyfield v Botha: Who knows?

2010-03-14 18:40

Johannesburg - The proposed WBF heavyweight title fight between 41 year-old South African holder Francois Botha and one-time 47 year-old boxing craftsman Evander Holyfield, which was initially due to have materialised in Uganda in January, before being postponed to February and then March, might now take place in April - or not at all.

What is more, it is now heading for a place in the annals of boxing history as the most postponed fight of all-time.

Not that the fiasco surrounding the unlikely, unwanted bout which the promoters at the time suggested would attract 80 000 fans to the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Kampala, is totally unexpected - coming, as it does under the banner of an organisation that has been variously known as the World Boxing Federation and the World Boxing Foundation, but which many believe should most aptly be renamed the World Boxing Farce.

Holyfield, a genuine world champion of note in his heyday, has become best known as the fighter who had a portion of his ears bitten of by the cannibilistically-inclined Mike Tyson, unfortunately tarnished his once respected and renowned image by fighting on for much too long.

And while he is due to turn 48 in October, Holyfield has applied and been granted a one-fight licence by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which could conceivably open the way for the former champ-turned-chump to fight Botha at the Orleans Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas next month.

But as one boxing commentator suggested: "who cares if the fight takes place in April, May June, July, August, September, October, November December - or not at all.

"Sadly," he continued, "Holyfield now has 10 unecessary losses on his record. He was one of the true warriors of his time and should have exited the ring with his head held high.

Botha, a journeyman with a journeyman's title, would not have been as much as seen in the same ring as Holyfield 10 years ago.

And many are hoping Holyfield does not end up this way by fighting Botha, now reported to be as meaty as a buffalo at 41, in what would surely be a fight to forget at its best - and something to hurt the tarnished image of boxing in any case.