Evander Holyfield hasn't stepped into a boxing ring for a competitive bout in more than three years, but he didn't make his retirement official until now. He finally admitted his fighting days are over as he prepares to enter the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame in August.
Eurosport passed along comments from the former cruiserweight and heavyweight champion, who admitted the decision wasn't made until recently:
No, I'm done. They're putting me in the Hall of Fame on the 9th, so it will be official. Won't nobody fight me, and now, I don't want to get hit.
It just started happening. The guys [at Dynasty Boxing] were waiting on me to be part of this thing, and I told them that I would. They said, 'Have you retired?' I said I'd be retired that day. I'd say that's it.
Holyfield will finish with a 44-10-2 record with one no-contest. He earned 29 knockout victories in 57 career fights. He also ends on a high note, having beaten Brian Nielsen by 10th-round TKO in his last bout back in 2011.
His last marquee bout came in 2003 when he lost to James Toney. In between that fight and his final endeavor into the ring, he had some moderately interesting encounters with Fres Oquendo, Sultan Ibragimov and Nikolai Valuev.
None of those fights match up to those of his prime when he was facing the likes of Buster Douglas, George Foreman, Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis, among others. He won the first 28 fights of his career before suffering his first defeat to Riddick Bowe in 1992.
Of course, he'll probably be best remembered for one of his encounters with Tyson when he had part of his ear bitten off by Iron Mike. It's one of those shocking moments in sports that will likely live on in infamy forever.
D.J. Francis of Freelance Punch was among those to express happy retirement wishes:
Now, Holyfield will get a chance to have his accomplishments honored by the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame. The 51-year-old Alabama native probably held on for too long, but the fact he ended on a winning note showed he still had some pop left.
Hopefully, over time the ear incident with Tyson won't overshadow all of his accomplishments. Holyfield was one of the most complete fighters of the era and deserves recognition as such, which will start with the induction on Aug. 9.