To those who feel Evander Holyfield should find safer pursuits at the age of 57, he has a straightforward answer.
‘They have their opinion and I have mine,’ he said. ‘I prefer to follow mine.’
And so the man they called the Real Deal is looking to strike another. If he has his way, you suspect that will be with Mike Tyson, who has evidently lost none of his sense of timing.
That relates as much to Tyson’s ability to hit pads cleanly at 53 as it does his decision to release workout videos in close proximity to those uploaded by Holyfield. Purely a coincidence says Holyfield, and yet it is a fact that a third meeting between two old greats is being discussed by both sides.
Terming it a fight might be a stretch, given Holyfield claims he is only after a three-round exhibition in which there will be ‘no winners or losers or going for knockouts’ – conditions the four-time heavyweight champion of the world says must be upheld as he enters the 10th year since his last bout.
Whether Tyson, even the mellowed version of today, is capable of keeping to such an agreement might be another matter. But at the very least there are negotiations for the third contest between two men whose younger rivalry was in equal parts remarkable and appalling.
Holyfield won their two fights in 1996 and 1997 and lost part of his right ear in his opponent’s mouth; Tyson was twice outclassed and landed a $3million fine. According to another heavyweight of yesteryear, Shannon Briggs, Tyson is spoken for and a fight agreed, but Holyfield gives the impression a deal can be done.
Holyfield says: ‘Mike and I talked once about this (the exhibition) and from that point on his people have spoken to my people. We are not at a point where we are at an agreement but there have been conversations.
‘There are some big people from different countries who would like for us to do it. My whole thing is, “Yes, if there is a way we can do it, then do it”. Me being me and Mike being who Mike is, I know it could be something big.
‘If it could be worked out then there has to be an understanding that there can be none of this other stuff that happens (with Tyson). Ain’t nobody getting a decision or win or lose or going for knockouts. Exhibition.
‘I didn’t really want to get back in the ring because I always said when I stop I will stop. But an exhibition, that is different. I am not killing myself for anybody. I ain’t looking for knockouts and I ain’t going more than three, three-minute rounds. We do it in an appropriate way. But I am going to be in great shape.
And if someone thinks they going to hit me, I don’t want them to think I ain’t going to hit them back. I don’t know if it will be Mike. If it doesn’t work then it wasn’t meant to be.’