Tag Archives: holyfield

Emanuel Steward dies: Kronk gym trainer passes aged 68

Boxing stunned as Steward, legendary trainer of Hearns and Lewis, dies aged 68

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UPDATED:

20:49 GMT, 25 October 2012

Boxing pays tribute on Twitter

Johnathon Banks ‏@BanksBoxingEnt
Wladimir Klitschko's current trainer

He's gone but NEVER!! will be forgotten. You fought a good fight you finished your course. With tears I'm saying.. R.I.P. Emanuel Steward

Joe Calzaghe @RealJoeCalzaghe
Former super-middleweight world champion

Sad to hear the news Emanuel Steward has passed away.A great man and a Great trainer. RIP Manny

Tyson Fury @Tyson_Fury

RIP Manny. Thank you for everything. I will become what you said, the next dominant heavyweight, I promise! God be with you my old friend.

Emanuel Steward, the legendary Kronk Gym trainer of a string of boxing world champions, has died aged 68.

Steward trained, among others, Lennox Lewis, Thomas Hearns, Oscar De La Hoya, Naseem Hamed and Evander Holyfield during his long and distinguished career.

He was most recently training WBO and IBF heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko until illness forced him away from the ring.

Tributes from the boxing world flowed on Twitter as the news spread, with the likes of Joe Calzaghe expressing his respect for Steward and sadness at his death.

Calzaghe said: 'Sad to hear the news Emanuel Steward has passed away. A great man and a Great trainer. RIP Manny.'

More to follow…

The man who made world champions: Emanuel Steward trained many boxing superstars

The man who made world champions: Emanuel Steward trained many boxing superstars

The best: Steward was until recently training IBF and WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko (left)

The best: Steward was until recently training IBF and WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko (left)

One of the greats: Lennox Lewis (right, with Steward) unified the heavyweight world championship belts

One of the greats: Lennox Lewis (right, with Steward) unified the heavyweight world championship belts

In the corner: Steward with Tommy Hearns

Champion: Steward with Evander Holyfield (centre) and MC Hammer

In the corner: Steward with Tommy Hearns (left) and Evander Holyfield (centre right), plus MC Hammer (right)

Evander Holyfield to retire – Jeff Powell boxing column

Retired and broke, Holyfield still has hope… but it's help he really needs

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UPDATED:

23:01 GMT, 15 October 2012

Hard times: Evander Holyfield

Hard times: Evander Holyfield

As if pulling a blanket over his head to hide from a world of troubles, Evander Holyfield will finally retire from boxing on his 50th birthday this Friday.

One of the ring’s most heroic warriors has been defeated not by one of his catalogue of formidable opponents but by the wounds of self-inflicted poverty.

A fighting man who battled his way out of the ghetto to a $350million fortune will wake up this poignant morning in a grim apartment in down-town Atlanta.

From The Real Deal to Meals On Wheels.

This is the deepest cut of all those sustained by so many fighting men who have squandered fortunes. Even Mike Tyson only blew $250m.

Worse, Holyfield seems more afflicted than most by the punishment inflicted by so many sledge-hammer blows to the head.

Yet even though his speech became increasingly slurred as he fought on to an age when the majority of Americans are applying for their bus pass, he had still been hoping for one last world title shot, one last big payday to keep the wolf from the door a little longer.

Holyfield is not just calling it a day but waiting for a phone call which will not come. His potentially suicidal campaign for a farewell fling against Wladimir or Vitali Klitschko has fallen on ears that are more kind than unreceptive.

Holyfield says: ‘I believe I can beat either of them but I don’t have time now to fight my way back up the rankings and become the No 1 contender. There’s no point badgering them any longer. If I don’t get the call on Friday, I quit.’

The phone will not ring.

50 and out: Holyfield is walking away from the hardest game

50 and out: Holyfield is walking away from the hardest game

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Bernd Bonte, manager of the Klitschkos, says: ‘Neither of the brothers will fight Evander. Both of them would destroy him at his age and they respect him far too much to do that. He is one of their idols and that means more than however much money the fight might make.’

The esteem in which Holyfield is held by the Klitschkos – in common with the entire fraternity of boxing – is hall-marked by the horde of memorabilia which he must surrender to auction next month.
As the only four-time winner of the world heavyweight title Holyfield surpasses The Greatest himself, Muhammad Ali.

That collection of WBC, WBA, IBF and Ring belts are to go under the hammer in Los Angeles, along with the wardrobe-full of gloves, shorts and robes worn in all the most significant fights in the career of one of the greatest boxers of all time.

Those treasures drip with the sweat of his epic trilogy with Riddick Bowe, the two controversial battles with Lennox Lewis and – along with his blood from that infamous biting of his ear – the sensational victories over Tyson.

Yet, although here is no telling how long his memory of the glory nights will remain sharp, the item from which he will part most reluctantly is the classic red Chevrolet manufactured in 1962, the year of his birth. It will feel as if his life has turned its full circle. Yet even if the fire sale raises its projected $5m, that will cover only half his $10m bankruptcy.

How could it have come to this Some of the answers are as old as the hardest game itself.
As the money poured in so, Holyfield took to gambling much of it away in the casinos of Las Vegas and Atlantic City. As all the pretty women flocked around so, he fathered 11 children with five of them as well as marrying and expensively divorcing three times.

Gates are closed: Holyfield's former 235 acre Atlanta estate, which sold at an auction for $7.5million, and cost $1m a year to maintain. He is believed to have owed $14m on the house at the time of foreclosure

Gates are closed: Holyfield's former 235 acre Atlanta estate, which sold at an auction for $7.5million, and cost $1m a year to maintain. He is believed to have owed $14m on the house at the time of foreclosure

An aerial view of Evander Holyfield's house in Fayette County, Georgia

An aerial view of Evander Holyfield's house in Fayette County, Georgia

Locked out: Holyfield at his former residence at the height of his success but was forced to sell the property at an auction to cover some of his debts

Locked out: Holyfield at his former residence at the height of his success but was forced to sell the property at an auction to cover some of his debts

As he took gratification from rising to fame through the old prejudices of America’s Deep South, so he flaunted his riches by buying Atlanta’s answer to Buckingham Palace.

The most frequently mentioned statistics of that estate are the 109 rooms and 17 bathrooms. When I visited him there he took most pride from having not one but two marble staircases sweeping through each end of the mansion. There were also houses in the grounds for his ex-wives and some of his children.

This was a monument to extravagance born of his pride at overcoming his humble beginnings but ultimately beyond his means to sustain.

In echoing contrast to that call which will never come the phone rang frequently there, to be answered by a servant saying ‘The Holyfield residence.’

Warrior: Holyfield will always be remembered as one of the all-time greats

Warrior: Holyfield will always be remembered as one of the all-time greats

His residence now is that small apartment in one of the less salubrious parts of his home city. The stately home was repossessed when he fell $14m behind on the mortgage repayments.

Now one of his daughters has won an order for immediate payment of $500,000 in maintenance arrears. Since he has no prospect of paying that or the $3,000 alimony due every month, he faces being held in contempt of court shortly.

What they cannot take from him is a phenomenal career. A Golden Gloves amateur title and Olympic bronze were followed by a reign as undisputed cruiserweight champion of the world.

After winning the heavyweight crown by defeating James Buster Douglas – who had shocked Tyson and the world in the greatest of all upsets – he went on to fight all the best of the big time. He alternated between dominating the division and coming back from set-backs – including suspension with a suspected heart defect – to keep reclaiming the title.

He would have been a five-time champion had he not been robbed of a decision by the giant Nikolai Valuev as recently as February 2010, at the age of 47. He has the satisfaction of bowing out as a winner, having defeated Danish veteran Brian Neilsen in what was to be his last fight.

Win or lose, the way Holyfield always went to war in the ring was thrilling and unforgettable.

Some may withhold sympathy, given the former scale of his wealth. Yet while his excesses wee a folly, the sadness is profound.

Tyson, who is finding ways to rebuild his life, is offering assistance and advice to the man whose lavish generosity has extended to forgiving Iron Mike for chewing off his ear.

Famously a born-again Christian, Holyfield says: ‘I still have hope.’

He also needs help. Hopefully, from all he people whose lives he has enriched with his courage, it will be forthcoming.

Don't be a Twit, Tyson…

Tyson Fury is a good guy at heart but he is in danger of embarrassing himself with his tirades against David Price, his British rival for future world heavyweight title glory.

Fury’s rantings at Price are starting to wander between the manic and banale and, frankly, do not merit being repeated in this column.

War of words: Tyson Fury launched a series of embarrassing tirades against David Price

War of words: Tyson Fury launched a series of embarrassing tirades against David Price

Price, having ended Audley Harrison’s career on Saturday night with another of his massive KOs to retain his British and Commonwealth belts, needs only to remind Fury that Fury vacated those titles rather than fight him.

Some of Fury’s other tweets of late have been riddled with expletives. It is time for him to stop twittering and concentrate at what he does best… which also happens to be knocking people out.

Sooner or later, he will get the chance to have his say against Price where it matters. In the ring.

Nonito nearly the new Pacquiao

Expectations that Nonito Donaire will eventually succeed his Filipino countryman Manny Pacquiao as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world rose on Saturday.

Donaire inflicted a stunning ninth round KO on Toshaki Nishkoka, Japan’s highly respected world champion against whom Britain’s Rendall Munroe failed in his one title bid thus far.

New Manny: Nonito Donaire (L) defeated Toshiaki Nishioka in the ninth round of their IBF and WBO super bantamweight title and WBC diamond championship match in California

New Manny: Nonito Donaire (L and below) defeated Toshiaki Nishioka in the ninth round of their IBF and WBO super bantamweight title and WBC diamond championship match in California

Nonito Donaire poses with his belts after his victory against Toshiaki Nishioka

With Cuban defector Guillermo Rigondeaux – a two-time Olympic gold medallst – already holding another of the super-bantamweiight belts – the road to a world title will not be easy for the forthcoming winner of Munoe and Scott Quigg.

Enough is enough, Audley

Audley Harrison, in a statement which gives full credit to David Price for Saturday’s knock out, says he is still thinking about whether to retire.

For your own sake – at coming up 41 and coming out of hospital – don’t think about it for too long, Audley.

Enough is enough: Audley Harrison reacts after his first round defeat by David Price

Enough is enough: Audley Harrison reacts after his first round defeat by David Price

Evander Holyfield to auction prized boxing possessions

Holyfield to auction prized boxing possessions in bid to cut 10m debt

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UPDATED:

08:53 GMT, 12 October 2012

Five-time heavyweight world champion Evander Holyfield is selling some of his most prized possessions in a desperate bid to slash his 10million debt.

The American, who celebrates his 50th birthday next week, has frittered away his 350m fortune earned during a career that has so far spanned 28 years.

But while Holyfield still retains hope of fighting one of the Klitschko brothers in one final bumper pay day, more pressingly he must come to terms with the problems in his personal life.

Sale: Evander Holyfield (right) will auction off his boxing memorabilia

Sale: Evander Holyfield (right) will auction off his boxing memorabilia

Much of his money is spent on maintenance for the 11 children he has to five different mothers.

His lavish 109-room, 17-bathroom mansion on the outskirts of Atlanta has had to
be sold for 5m to ensure its not repossessed.

And in what has been touted as one of the greatest sales of sporting memorabilia in history, Holyfield will part with 20 pairs of gloves, the robes, trunks and boots he wore in his major fights.

Still going: Holyfield hopes to fight one of the Klitschko brothers

Still going: Holyfield hopes to fight one of the Klitschko brothers

Also up for grabs will be gold and diamond watches, WBC, WBA and IBF championship belts plus several luxury vehicles including his vintage 1962 red Chevrolet Corvette.

'These days right now are the most difficult, dealing with all the mothers of my kids,' he said.

Vitali Klitschko v Dereck Chisora: Past unlikely heavyweight hopefuls

Underdog… but Chisora should remember that so were these unlikely heavyweight hopefuls

Dereck Chisora will be the rank outsider when he enters the ring to face Vitali Klitschko on Saturday. Here, Sportsmail's Jeff Powell takes a trip down memory lane to cast his eye over some memorable heavyweight upsets…

42-1 James 'Buster' Douglas v Mike Tyson, Tokyo, February 11, 1990

Hugely motivated out of his laid-back custom of capitulating in big fights by the death of his mother, Douglas truly shocked the world.

Flat out: Tyson lies on the canvas after being floored by James 'Buster' Douglas

Flat out: Tyson lies on the canvas after being floored by James 'Buster' Douglas

He overcame his fear of 'The Baddest Man On The Planet' to rise from the canvas after an early knockdown – albeit after a long count which should have ended earlier with Tyson the winner – to out-box and finally KO the undefeated but grossly under-trained Iron Mike in the tenth round.

Buster's reign as undisputed heavyweight champion lasted only until he crumbled against Evander Holyfield in Las Vegas eight months later.

33-1 – Evander Holyfield v Mike Tyson 1, Las Vegas, November 9, 1996

Still going: Holyfield is seeking a fifth title

Still going: Holyfield is seeking a fifth title

At 34 and having lost three of his previous seven fights Holyfield was widely regarded as in decline, especially after a sluggish struggle to beat blown up middleweight-cum-TV-commentator Bobby Czyz just before this title challenge.

But he withstood Tyson's bull-rush at the start of this, their fight before the ear-biting, knocked down an off-balance Iron Mike with a blow to the chest in the fifth and then administered such a bloody beating that referee Mitch Halpern called a halt in the 11th.

With that victory Holyfield equalled Muhammad Ali's hitherto unique feat of winning the world heavyweight championship three times. He later went on to a record fourth title… and is still seeking a fifth.

20-1 – Hasim Rahman v Lennox Lewis, Johannesburg, April 22, 2001

So confident was Lewis that he delayed going to higher altitude while filming fight scenes in Las Vegas for the Ocean's Eleven movie with George Clooney and Co.

Stunned: Lewis was floored in the sixth round by 20-1 outsider Rahman

Stunned: Lewis was floored in the sixth round by 20-1 outsider Rahman

The confidence of the bookies evaporated along with Britain's finest in the thin air of South Africa's high veld and Rahman landed his historic knockout in the sixth. Lewis learned his lesson and beat Rahman in the re-match later the same year.

10-1 – James J Braddock v Max Baer, New York, June 13, 1935

Longshoreman by trade and journeyman as a boxer with 22 losses on his record, Braddock had to score three upset wins even to get into the ring with the playboy but nevertheless much feared Baer.

But Braddock was nothing if not brave and to the delight of 35,000 fans in the old Madison Square Garden Bowl he not only out-fought but out-boxed the champion for a unanimous points victory.

He held the title for two years before being destroyed by Joe Louis. The legend of The Cinderella Man was born, and later made into a movie with that title.

7-1 – Cassius Clay v Sonny Liston, Miami Beach, February 25, 1964

The brash, fast-talking Clay promised to 'shake up the world' by beating Liston 'the big ugly bear.' Few believed him but he proved as fast with his fists and on his feet as with his Louisville Lip.

The Liston monster became increasingly bemused by the lighter, dancing, goading 22-year-old challenger and quit on his stool in a befuddled condition at the end of the sixth round. The Greatest had arrived.

Andre Ward preaching the right way ahead of Carl Froch fight

Son of God is on a mission: Ward preaching the right way, but can he handle the Cobra

The Son Of God, as Andre Ward proclaims himself, smiles slowly at the suggestion that Carl Froch has rattled him prior to their super-fight here on Saturday night.

After a moment”s reflection, he says: “As long as I continue to let God lead my life I know great things are bound to happen for me.”

There is an unnerving aura of certainty about this most unusual prize-fighter. It is rooted in Ward”s conviction that his eventual destiny is to become a minister of the church, while the purpose of him being a world champion boxer is to use that platform to spread the gospel.

Faith: Ward (centre left) says boxing is a means for him to spread the gospel

Faith: Ward (centre left) says boxing is a means for him to spread the gospel

Froch believes he has got under the skin of the gifted American who confronts him in a battle which will unify the WBC and WBA world super-middleweight titles, while bringing to a thunderous climax the two-year Super Six tournament to find the supreme champion in this division.

The Nottingham Cobra says: “Andre is genuinely wound up about me calling him a dirty fighter who goes in with his head. He does what Evander Holyfield and Bernard Hopkins do, leads with his head before he punches. That way there”s less chance of getting caught with a shot going in and more risk of a clash of heads. He”s agitated that I”ve rumbled him and that I”m alerting the referee to his tactic.”

Ward replies: “The only remarks of Carl”s which have offended me were those which disrespected my faith. It”s not right to do that.

“But you will never hear any trash talking from me, I”m certainly not into that gangsta stuff. I pause to think before I speak. I want to be sure that everything I say is in keeping with my religion and good for my sport.

Head to head: Carl Froch (right) insists he has got under the skin of Ward

Head to head: Carl Froch (right) insists he has got under the skin of Ward

“I want to portray boxing as a decent sport and try to set an example with the way I live. We have kids watching us and a lot of adults who have lost their way in life. It is important for people in our position to set an example, to remember that we are role models.

“What I have to say trades into my faith. Beliefs, morals and principles are important.”

This thoughtful young man – America”s only boxing gold medallist at the 2004 Olympics is 27, Britain”s WBC world champion 34 – says he is as faithful to his wife as he is to his religion: “Tiffiney was my school sweetheart and will be the only woman ever in my life.”

Then that smile again as he adds: “I couldn”t be the playboy. I was never any good at chatting up the girls.”

Enlarge Super Six: Everything you need to know

There have been accusations of extraordinary ego in his choice of ring nickname but Ward says: “I am humble. Firm but with humility. The Son Of God name came to me at aroundthe time of my second fight. A friend told me it was a line in a song and it stuck with me. (The initials S O G are also tattooed on his arm).

“There is no arrogance in this. It simply feels right for me because I lead a pure Christian life. It is anopen statement of my faith. My ultimate goal is to be a minister. That is my true calling. I view my life now as a ministry, including my time in the ring and my time with the fans.”

Ward is aware of the growing anti-Christian sentiment here in America and elsewhere and says: “I know full well that these days not everyone will like you if you are a Christian. The Bible tells us that doing right will not necessarily make you popular. But principles and beliefs are more important to me.”

Even his trainer, Virgil Hunter, is his godfather. Andre and Tiffiney have three children, Andre Jnr who is 10, Malachi 8 and the one girl, Amira 3. As well as going every Sunday to church – The Well in a town called Dublin near Oakland, California – they work there as volunteers at least twice a week.

“We had our first son when I was 17, a year before we married,” says Ward. “I am very happy being a devoted father and husband. I strongly believe in family and family values.”

He sees no conflict between his religion and the violence of boxing: “I don”t use my faith as a crutch. It is the source of my strength and my main motivation for working so hard.”

Humble not rumbled: Andre Ward (left) beat Arthur Abraham in May

Humble not rumbled: Andre Ward (left) beat Arthur Abraham in May

Those attributes drove him to his Olympic glory and have kept him undefeated thus far in a seven-year, 24-fight professional career highlighted by victories in this Super Six made-for-television series over Mikkel Kessler, which also won him the WBA title, Allan Green and Arthur Abraham.

Nevertheless, he has enjoyed an easier ride to this final in the historic Boardwalk Hall. He was given a walkover when Andre Dirrell withdrew and met Abraham after he had been softened up by Froch, who is confident his experience of many harder fights will count.

Another smile from Ward: “I do my best at all times and I believe that will be good enough for me to out-box Carl. And I thank God when I succeed.”

Froch v Ward is live Saturday on Sky Sports 1 from midnight.