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Newz Forum: BOXING: Holyfield Armed with New 'Yes Men'

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posted on Mar, 10 2004 @ 08:01 PM
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - March 10, 2004
Evander Holyfield, having made a conscious decision in an unconscious state of mind to continue his career, will do so with newly minted yes men in his corner.

See, that's the great thing about boxing: Just when you start to believe your career might be toast, some schlep jumps up from behind the dumpster and yells, "Yeah! You the man! Way to go champ! I get paid to carry towels and I don't even need a license! Why am I yelling!?! Um, you gonna finish those fries?"

Holyfield held a news conference this week in New York. Among those who did not attend were Don Turner, his trainer for the past 10 years, and Jim Thomas, his attorney and quasi-manager. Turner has been fired --- although we're just assuming that because, as he said by phone Tuesday, "I haven't spoken to Evander since the last fight."

Thomas hasn't been fired. He merely has been reduced to a role Holyfield and his three new advisers --- Yes Sir, Great Idea Sir and Right Away Sir --- have yet to define. A hint on the significance of Thomas' new job: Nobody invited him to the news conference.

Holyfield has won only two of his past eight fights. He has looked old and slow since knocking out Michael Moorer in 1997. His head says, "Throw the hook," but before the left moves, the chin takes a right. It follows that Holyfield's left and chin are not on speaking terms these days. (For the record, the left has not heard whether he also has been fired.)

Churning through camp members is nothing new for Holyfield. He has fired promoters: the late Dan Duva, Don King, and, in a cameo role, Hammer. He has fired trainers: Lou Duva, George Benton, Tommy Brooks, Emanuel Steward. He has fired assorted managers and advisers: Shelly Finkel, Neal Boortz, Ken Sanders. He allowed his second ex-wife, Janice, to take over his office and fire, among others, Charles Watson, who had been Holyfield's close friend since school days. (Eventually, Janice also was fired.)

Turner knows the business. He knows why it's over for him: He dared to try to protect his fighter and make the right decision by throwing in the towel to mercifully end Holyfield's last fight against James Toney, a ninth-round TKO. What Turner can't figure out is the ending.

"I have yet to be told [of the firing] --- I've heard it from other people," Turner said Tuesday from his home near the North Carolina coast. "Jim said Evander would call me, but he never did. I called Evander's office, but he wasn't there. It's a situation I'll never understand."

This is classic Holyfield. Relationships that others view as personal, he views as disposable. Finkel managed him for 10 years following the Olympics. He found out from a reporter that he was out. Finkel then spoke to Holyfield, who confirmed as much, and Holyfield then sent him a dismissal letter. Hey, at least he got the letter. Turner just got unreturned messages.

Holyfield threatened to damage his legacy when he decided to continue fighting after the loss to Toney in October. Now he is threatening damage to his brain. Turner and Thomas saw themselves as more than aides --- they saw themselves as protectors. Turner's preference was that Holyfield retire, but he said after the Toney fight he would stay with him merely to help ensure Holyfield didn't get hurt. Good luck now.

[Edited on 10-3-2004 by Ocelot]

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