Debt and Taxes | Beloved Boxing Legend on the RopesWritten by Lee Cleveland
Boxing legend and former heavyweight and cruiserweight Undisputed World Champion Evander Holyfield is wobbly with his back against the ropes... But his opponent isn't Mike Tyson or Wladimir Klitschko.
As a matter of fact, its not even a fighter.
Evander Holyfield is allegedly in the fight of his life against his debt and fiscal-related legal problems.
But Holyfield, 49, isn't alone.
Celebrities, especially athletes, often indulge when they are at the top of their game. As a result, they fail to save for a rainy day and get stuck with massive debt at an age when they are no longer in optimal form.
In June, TMZ reported that Holyfield's 54,000 sq. ft. 234 acre mansion was sold for $7.5 million. But unfortunately, the former champ apparently didn't see much of that money because his home was foreclosed. The fight legend owed more than $14 Million USD on the home, according to the documents, and still owes close to half of that amount following the foreclosure and auction.
And to make matters worse, any of the proceeds from the auction sale probably went to the IRS because Evander owed $200,000 worth of back taxes.
For reasons not known, the champ apparently did not petition for bankruptcy, either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Had he pursued that option, he would have at least sought protection which would have likely imposed an automatic stay against his creditors.
But there's more.
This summer Evander was sued by the Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS) who represented his 18-year old daughter Emani. The DHS apparently petitioned the court to garnish Holyfield's wages as he owed a spine-jarring $372,097 in child support which had accumulated over the last eighteen years.
And sadly, Evander recently put his 1984 Olympic Bronze Medal up for auction as well as the trunks he wore for his historic 1991 battle with George Foreman.
Down... But Not Out?
The consummate professional in the ring, Evander Holyfield is a boxing legend who has brought nothing but courage, decency and honor to his craft. Perhaps the still very capable "Real Deal" will secure a few more big fights coupled with a few movie roles and endorsement opportunities.
When the legendary Henry Armstrong became broke in the early 1940s, he pleaded with Sugar Ray Robinson to give him a fight. Robinson, who adored and idolized Armstrong, was reluctant at first as "Homicide Hank" was well past his prime. But in response, Armstrong stated, "If you like me, you'll fight me. You know I need the money."
Sugar Ray Robinson agreed and the two icons met in 1943 with Sugar Ray winning a unanimous decision over ten rounds.
Back in the day, not honoring a legend's request to fight was deemed disrespectful. In Armstrong's case, he still had a worthy name and, more importantly, was an established legend of the sport who'd clearly paid his dues.
Evander Holyfield (44-10-2-1 NC, 29 KO), the only 4 time heavyweight champion in the history of the sport, is "officially" 6-2-0-1NC in his last 9 bouts, but legitimately 7-1-0-1NC as his robbery loss to then WBA Heavyweight Champion Nikolay Valuev in 2008 should have been a win.
Unlike Roy Jones, Evander hasn't been stopped in 9 years and has only "legitimately" lost once in the last seven years - a respectable twelve round unanimous decision to then-undefeated WBO Heavyweight Champion Sultan Ibragimov (then 21-0-1).
The Klitschkos claim they like Evander Holyfield.
Some would argue, if they really liked him they'd give him a title shot as Sugar Ray Robinson graciously granted another legend the same opportunity.
After all, Jean Marc Mormeck, Manuel Charr and Mariusz Wach haven't exactly fired-up the masses.
Lee is Managing Editor of FightSaga.com, a student of the Sweet Science and longtime boxing fan.
A gym rat in the 1990s, Lee was trained by 1976 Olympic Silver Medalist Charles Mooney and several retired seasoned pros. He was also a sparring partner for former WBA Super Middleweight Champion Steve Little who upset Michael Nunn for the WBA Super Middleweight Title in '94.
Lee created FightSaga.com to honor and preserve boxing's rich heritage, chronicle the achievements of top fighters, celebrate the legacy of big fights and provide a fun, educational experience for fight fans.