Boxing: Holyfield the giant for all Bean's talk

Bob Mee reports on a world title fight with the look of a mismatch

CHILDISH it may be to make fun of a man's name, but are we really supposed to take seriously the championship pretensions of Vaughn "Vicious" Bean?

The experience of watching two world-class heavyweights slamming away can make the squeamish turn away, and the hairs on the backs of the necks of the insensitive stand on end. But what on earth's going on, here? Evander Holyfield, the evangelist who fights to spread the Gospel and pad his bank balance, is defending his International Boxing Federation world championship belt against Mr Bean.

It conjures up the all-too obvious image of a terrified Rowan Atkinson cowering on the ropes as a humourless Holyfield bears down on him, bald head gleaming in the lights, humming "Onward Christian Soldiers". As well, let's hope Mr Bean doesn't do a runner.

Question: What's "Vicious" done to get this exalted position in the heavyweight pecking order?

Answer: Nothing. His only previous expedition into world class brought a points defeat by Michael Moorer, who was then trounced in eight rounds by Holyfield. The form line is strong. Mr Bean doesn't have a prayer.

Holyfield's confidence in his crowd-pulling ability has led him to underwrite the event at the Atlanta Dome himself because initial attempts to lure the local business community drew a blank. He hasn't boxed before his own people since 1991, when he beat Smokin' Bert Cooper. (Smokin' Bert was infamously relabelled Non-Smokin' Bert when he booked into rehab, but that's another story.)

Unless Holyfield loses to Bean, which would be a miraculous upset, the only heavyweight fight which matters is Holyfield against Lennox Lewis. Lewis's manager, Frank Maloney, opportunistically argues that it isn't happening because Holyfield doesn't want any part of the big man from London. "Every time we give him what he wants, he asks for more," says Maloney.

This is only partly true. There are others who have to be paid and rival American television stations, NBO and Showtime, who have to be satisfied. The former have a deal with Lewis, the latter back Holyfield.

Lewis, meanwhile, fights on 26 September in Connecticut against Zeljko Mavrovic of Croatia. Mavrovic, who is a good fighter but unknown in America, is causing as much hilarity as Bean among the cynics of the international press. When the serious, Tolstoy-reading Croatian appeared on the telephone link to promote this fight, one New York writer asked him: "How do we know it's you?"

In between these two fights, Mike Tyson will plead for the return of his boxing licence before the Nevada Commission, who took it away following his ear-chomping disgrace against Holyfield 15 months ago. The late American writer Jim Murray said Tyson needs a rabies injection rather than a licence to fight. Wit aside, it seems Tyson's tragedy is deepening. This week the Internal Revenue Service issue a lien against his Connecticut mansion, which means if he doesn't shell out the $6.3m he owes them, they take the house. This makes next weekend's relicensing hearing in Las Vegas - the morning after the Oscar De La Hoya-Julio Cesar Chavez rematch - even more crucial to his ability to run his life.

Showtime, the TV station which works with Tyson's estranged promoter Don King, have already persuaded Tyson to sign a $33m deal.

His immediate financial crisis would presumably be alleviated were he to return to the ring before Christmas. However, there's also the nasty business of the minor traffic incident in Maryland a few weeks ago, when some unfortunate chose, of all the cars on the roads of America, to dent the one belonging to Tyson's wife.

It seems that Tyson, who was in the passenger seat, was none too pleased. As a result he faces assault charges in a Maryland court on 2 October.

And no doubt the Indiana authorities, to whom he is still answerable because of the 10-year sentence he received in 1992 for the rape of Desiree Washington, will be keeping an eye on those proceedings.

A punching evangelist, Mr Bean, an erudite Croatian with a Mohican haircut, laid-back Lewis, and Tyson, the walking timebomb... heavyweight boxing is still the most serious fun to be had. As long as you're not taking the punches.

News
i100
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
News
peopleHis band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and DiCaprio, at an awards show in 2010
filmsAll just to promote a new casino
News
i100
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
News
i100
Sport
Tom Cleverley
footballLoan move comes 17 hours after close of transfer window
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
News
Boris Johnson may be manoeuvring to succeed David Cameron
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Developer

£500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer SQL, C#, Stored Procedures, MDX...

Front-Office Developer (C#, .NET, Java, AI)

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front-Office D...

C#.NET Developer

£500 per day: Harrington Starr: C#.NET Developer C#, WPF, WCF, ASP.NET, Prism...

Creche Assistant or Nursery Nurse

£8 per hour: Randstad Education Leeds: The Job Creche Assistant to start asap ...

Day In a Page

Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

Stolen youth

Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

Made by Versace, designed by her children

Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Anyone for pulled chicken?

Pulling chicks

Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband