Federal bankruptcy courts are hitting Evander Holyfield harder than Mike Tyson or Lennox Lewis ever could, forcing the former world heavyweight champion to auction many of his most prized possessions.
Iconic items such as the gloves Holyfield wore in the infamous “Bite Fight” against Mike Tyson, in which Tyson entered one of the most feared men on the planet and left in disgrace after spitting out a piece of left Holyfield’s ear. Many items that are more personal to Holyfield will go under the gavel, such as Evander’s bronze medal from the 1984 Olympics. It is a humiliation Holyfield’s fans and associate never envisioned during his exciting championship reign.
Last June, Holyfield moved out of his 109-room mansion, in the suburbs of Atlanta, and into a comfortable condominium. Holyfield sold the 54,000-square-foot home for $7.5 million in a foreclosure agreement with his bank. A figure nowhere near the $14 million still owed, according to the New York Daily News, which has left Holyfield in dire financial straits. The auction of Holyfield’s memorabilia takes place on November 30, and includes non-boxing memorabilia such as jewelry, furniture, automobiles (including a classic 1962 Chevy Corvette), and even some of the champions clothing.
Perhaps, of more interest to boxing fans are Holyfield’s championship belts, signed promotional posters, as well as over 25 pairs of fight-worn gloves, robes, and trunks. People interested in bidding on the items can participate in person, online, or over telephone, according to a statement released by Julien's Auctions of Beverly Hills, CA.
Looking back on Holyfield’s achievements, most estimate the former IBF, WBA, and WBC champion earned nearly $250 million during the entirety of his professional career. A career that may not be over, Holyfield is still publicly chasing a title fight against either Klitschko. He is also scheduled to appear in an exhibition match against Ray Mercer in February 2013, as part of a Nelson Mandela Boxing Tribute night in South Africa.
Holyfield obviously overextended himself financially in his heyday, and in recent years lacked the funds to simply maintain his sprawling 235-acre estate. Adding to Holyfield’s financial and legal misery are multiple child support payments, which have also fallen into delinquency according to court records published by various news outlets.
Holyfield is a two-division champion, and future Hall of Famer. An American boxing icon once seen as a role model, sought after by national brands such as Taco Bell in a spokesperson role. Now, Holyfield is selling his likeness to a regional barbecue sauce company, which released a Real Deal BBQ Sauce brand last month. The former champion is nearing his 50th birthday in October, and should be in a rocking chair fondly remembering victories over Mike Tyson, George Foreman, Larry Holmes, Riddick Bowe, Michael Moorer, and Dwight Qawi.
Holyfield last fought in May 2011, beating Brian Nielsen over 10 one-sided rounds, in which small flashes of Holyfield’s former brilliance were still evident. The champion has many more formidable foes to contend with now. Attempting to outwit the JP Morgan Chase Bank, as well as local and federal government officials’ intent on stripping the last vestiges of Holyfield’s dignity.