Legendary former heavyweight champion Evander "Real Deal" Holyfield is finally set to call it a career, planning his announcement to coincide with his 50th birthday on Friday.
Holyfield has long pursued the seemingly delusional goal of becoming a five-time world heavyweight champion; he is already the only fighter to win the title four times, and has fought well past his prime.
In recent months he has called out both Klitschko brothers, Vitali and Wladimir, but neither brother has expressed any interest in facing the badly-faded, former undisputed champion.
But that doesn't mean Holyfield isn't holding out hope, even as he prepares to pull the curtain closed on a nearly-30-year career that saw him win undisputed titles at cruiserweight and heavyweight.
"There's no point badgering them any longer. If I don't get the call on Friday, I quit," Holyfield told BoxingScene.com.
He maintains that his inability to secure a fight isn't due to his skills in the ring—he still maintains he could beat either brother—but due to a lack of time and willingness to work his way back up the rankings.
"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 number one contender," Holyfield said.
While this may seem like delusion—given his age and the Klitschko's dominance—make no mistake about it, Evander Holyfield believes it.
For much of his career it was his belief and determination that carried him to victory in fights that on paper he would've lost.
It was this determination that led him to become the first ever, and to this day only, man to win a share of the heavyweight title four times.
It was this determination that led him to a career defining victory over Mike Tyson in 1996, in a fight that most observers felt he was crazy for taking.
And sadly, it was this determination that led him to continue pursuing the dream, long after it had become impractical.
Many fights fans will sadly remember Holyfield for the fighter he became. An aging warrior continuing on, getting shut out and beaten up by fighters who couldn't lace his boots in his prime.
They won't remember a man who was perhaps the best heavyweight of his era, and one who fought his best, when the odds were stacked against him.
Evander Holyfield will retire with a professional record of 44-10-2 with 29 knockouts and one no contest. But even that doesn't tell the whole story. Many of those losses came when the "Real Deal" was well past his best and pursuing his impossible dream.
It was a great run for one of boxing's great warriors. Evander Holyfield can ride off into the sunset with his head held high and his legacy already written.
Here's hoping that boxing fans remember him for the fighter he was, and not the one he became.
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