IRISH heavyweight Kevin McBride, best known for retiring Mike Tyson in 2005, will box Evander Holyfield on June 5 in the latest exhibition bout the sport really doesn’t need. But the plan, according to 47-year-old McBride, is to defeat 58-year-old Holyfield and then get a rematch with 54-year-old Tyson.
“Yes, he’s coming in there to take me out and I’m coming in to do the same thing to him. This is a real fight,” McBride told Boxing News about the proposed event, which will be broadcast by Triller – the new platform that encourages retired fighters to come back in ‘exhibition’ bouts.
“It’s eight rounds, and just two-minute rounds, but it’s no exhibition. This is the opportunity of a lifetime for me. Actually, it’s the second opportunity of a lifetime for me. I KO’d one legend in Mike Tyson and now, after I see off Holyfield, me and Tyson can have our unfinished business.
“He [Tyson] has to think about that fight with me all the time. No doubt. He has to think about the way he quit on his stool against an Irishman. This fight [with Holyfield] I will prove to everyone, all the doubters, that I’m still a legitimate fighter. Yes, I’ve been knocked out a couple of times and I’ve lost fights. But it’s hard to get up for a fight after you’ve just beaten Mike Tyson.
“I was close to getting a world title shot after that [win over Tyson], but it never came. Now, this fight with Evander, it’s a dream come true. Don’t let anyone tell you this is not a real fight. He’s still a very dangerous man, even at age 58. He’s in great shape. I’ve been working for a guy, cutting down trees every single day. Let me tell you, that keeps you in shape, chopping trees and then humping them around the place. I will be in great shape for this fight. I’m very excited and I’m taking it very seriously. I love the sport too much for me not to take it seriously.”
Kevin McBride fought eight times after beating Tyson, losing five times. Both fighters last fought in 2011 with McBride losing to Mariusz Wach in four rounds and Holyfield halting Brian Neilson in 10. It was exceptionally clear, 10 long years ago, that McBride and Holyfield were a long way past their best.
While the boxing hardcore collectively groan at the amount of boxers coming back, McBride insists it’s a positive trend.
“I love boxing, it’s in my blood, and I want this to be a great event, a real and exciting event,” he reasoned. “And that’s what it will be. I’ll see to that. I’m certain Holyfield feels exactly the same. People today, with the pandemic and everything that’s been going on, they want excitement, they want big fights with big names. I think the reason all the legends are coming back – Tyson, Roy Jones, Holyfield, De La Hoya – is because, the fans today, they know those guys can show them how it’s done. One punch can change the direction of anybody’s life and these fights reflect that. My life changed overnight with the Tyson fight, and people love seeing stuff like that. All of Ireland will be behind me for this fight with Holyfield.
“Listen, I know how to knock a man out. I have 29 knockouts to my name! Of course, he’s coming in with the same attitude, but I’m going to be explosive against Holyfield. He’s a great guy, I’ve met him a few times. We have never sparred but I know plenty about the guy. This fight, I’ve had so many calls! Everyone wants to see it. Call me again after the fight, it will be even bigger.”