Too nice to be champ

Glyn Leach
18/08/2016 1:50pm

As a tribute to the late Glyn Leach, the former Editor of Boxing Monthly, we are proud to bring his Editorial columns back for you to read again and again on our website. On this occasion we go back to August 1992, and Glyn was sticking up for the world heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield.

Considering that he is undefeated, won the heavyweight title from the man who beat Mike Tyson, and has made three successful defences, Evander Holyfield is not a popular champion.

Holyfield did his cause no favours by allowing Larry Holmes to go the distance with him, that everyone will agree with. But to accuse him of cowardice because he has defended against pensioners like Holmes and George Foreman is unfair.

Holyfield himself is perfectly aware that such opponents are of the "no win" variety, and has stated so on many occasions.

The champ is a decent human being, a devout Christian who, it wouldn't surprise me, would not sleep too happily if he were to give an old guy a vicious beating. But unfortunately he has yet to prove he can, thus the unpopularity.

But all Holyfield has done is get the best paydays he possibly can - it is not his fault that none of the younger heavyweights are worth as much at the box office as Foreman and Holmes. If anything it is an indictment of the class of heavyweight currently available.

However, two genuine top-flight heavies seem set to meet in London this October. Lennox Lewis and Razor Ruddock are due to fight a WBC title eliminator at Earls Court on 31 October, although Ruddock seems reluctant at time of typing.

This is great news for British boxing, but the bad news for the fight game worldwide is that there is a strong move being made to strip Holyfield of the WBC title so that Lewis-Ruddock is for the vacant title.

While the British game would get a massive boost by staging such a promotion, it can only be wrong for Holyfield to be treated in such a shoddy fashion.

Whether people like him or not, Holyfield is a true professional and an honourable man. You would find few who might say the same things about Tyson, the man who Holyfield seems destined to be overshadowed by.

Holyfield's religious faith is genuine and established, whereas Tyson changes his like most people change their underwear, and is currently courting Islam due to the money he ploughed into Christianity not getting him off the rape charge, perhaps.

Yet, for all his faults, the various governing bodies would never for a split second have considered stripping Tyson of one of the titles he unified - Tyson was good for the game, whilst Holyfield is bad, and must be ushered out of sight as soon as possible, it seems fashionable to think.

Not so: Holyfield is a linear champion, undisputed, and deserves to be given respect - he must be allowed to lose his titles in the ring, nowhere else. Stripping Holyfield would be a disgraceful act.