IF you thought the idea of Nigel Benn returning to the ring at 55 years of age to fight Sakio Bika sounded like a bad one, Evander Holyfield has a beer he would like you to hold.
‘The Real Deal’ is 57 years of age, and eight years into retirement, but admits he would consider making a return to the ring if the opportunity was presented to him. Not only that, if it were left up to him the opportunity, a lucrative one, would consist of a fourth fight against his old New York rival Riddick Bowe, with whom Holyfield last shared a ring in 1995.
“I had something set up in Japan that they were talking about doing, but now nobody is saying anything,” Evander, a former cruiserweight and heavyweight champion, told World Boxing News. “Hopefully it will happen, but I had nobody talk to me lately about it. If we do it then fine, if we don’t, I’m good.
“I wanted to do it with Riddick Bowe. We’re friends. And the kind of money they’re talking about would be pretty good for three rounds.
“Yes, I can do that. I’m ready.’
Only in boxing will you find the correct price for two old men, friends no less, to get in the ring again and forget all about old age, aches and pains and the irreversible damage their profession, this blood sport, has already done to them.
In another money move, Tyson Fury, the former world heavyweight boxing champion, has recently floated the idea of one day making the transition to mixed martial arts and competing for the UFC heavyweight crown.
It is a move most consider pie in the sky, a mere selling tool to aid Fury’s mission to flog his autobiography or his latest WWE appearance or his next boxing match (the single Fury-related thing of actual interest). Yet Michael Bisping, a one-time UFC middleweight champion widely respected in MMA circles, insists the idea of Fury becoming a mixed martial artist might not be as far-fetched as it initially seems.
Speaking on his Believe You Me podcast, ‘The Count’ said: “Absolutely he could. I truly believe that if you matched him up correctly.
“There are some good wrestlers, like Stipe (Miocic, the reigning UFC heavyweight champion), for one. He outwrestled (Francis) Ngannou and Ngannou’s been doing MMA longer than Fury, so you’d think he’d outwrestle Fury as well. That just goes without saying, really.
“They’re not going to give Tyson Fury a title fight right off the bat anyway. But then you’ve got other guys. I mean (Daniel) Cormier’s going to be done soon.
“If Tyson Fury was to come over, I’m not going to say the word ‘groom’, but they would stagger his matchups and give him logical matchups.”
More than seeing his fighting potential, what Bisping sees in Fury is immense earning potential. And, frankly, in this day and age, that’s probably far more important than the former, both in boxing and MMA.
“Listen, look at the UFC,” Bisping said. “People call it the entertainment era and Fury ties into that perfectly. The guy can talk. He can talk sh*t for days. He’s very, very funny.
“He can put people down; he sings on the microphone. Not only is he the heavyweight champion of the world but he’s massively charismatic.
“He’s an absolute huge star and if he can come over, win a couple of fights and then get a title fight, that’s big business for the UFC. That’d be a massive, massive pay-per-view.”
Frank Bruno once called boxing “show business with blood” and these days, as boxing veers more and more into that territory, mixed martial arts can be found right there with it. In many ways, like Floyd and Conor, it makes for the perfect marriage.