When former undisputed world heavyweight champion Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield (43-10-2, with 28 KOs) steps into the ring tomorrow night at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, WV, he will be out to show the world he still has something left at the age of 48 years old.
Based on workout footage and various interviews leading up to the fight, he is certainly still in possession of ring skills, punches hard and looks to be in tremendous condition, but will it be enough to defeat his opponent? That man is a tough 39 year-old journeyman boxer named Sherman “The Tank” Williams (34-11-2, with 19 KOs).
Evander Holyfield is coming into tomorrow night’s bout off a victory over former world heavyweight titleholder Francois Botha. The fight itself, which was contested last April in Las Vegas, was fairly competitive until Holyfield dropped his man in the 8th round and ended matters via a TKO.
Prior to the match with Botha, Evander Holyfield lost consecutive bouts in world title affairs against Nikolay Valuev and Sultan Ibragimov back in 2008 and 2007, respectively. In the Valuev fight, most fans and ringside media believed the old war horse deserved the victory, but the seven foot tall Russian managed to eek out an undeserved majority decision and keep his WBA title in the process.
In the Ibragimov fight for the WBO version of the heavyweight championship, Holyfield was forced to chase the champion all night and was simply ineffective at cutting off the ring. Holyfield landed the harder and more effective punches but not enough of them to counter Ibragimov’s quick, pecking combinations. As a result, he lost via a wide margin on the official judges’ scorecards.
All of this is to say Evander Holyfield has demonstrated in his last three fights that he is still capable of competing at a high level against some of the better fighters in the heavyweight division.
Although exhibiting toughness against a wide array of fighters on his resume, Sherman Williams is not of the same talent level as Holyfield’s last three opponents. In fact, Williams’ most significant achievements in the ring occurred over ten years ago when he defeated journeyman Cisse Salif and fought to a draw with former heavyweight title challenger Jameel McCline. He had won eight fights in a row against very limited competition between 2005 and 2008 before losing via a unanimous decision his last time in the ring back in 2009 against an undefeated prospect named Manuel Charr.
To his credit, Williams has never been knocked out and has proven to be very durable over the years.
Therefore, unless the former champion has gotten much older since the Botha fight last April and lost his ability to perform, he should be able to take care of business against Sherman Williams. One should not discount the possibility that Evander Holyfield will show his age and a lot of wear and tear, giving Williams a chance, but the reality is “The Tank” has very small prospect of victory at best.
Make no mistake about it. He was selected as an opponent to make Evander Holyfield look good, and that is what I expect to happen. Williams is a longtime professional, so he knows the drill and the reason he was given this opportunity.
Because Williams has never been knocked out and Holyfield is not known for the biggest punch, a unanimous decision by a wide margin should be in the offing for the 48 year old.