Boxing: Holyfield refuses to accept the inevitable

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The Independent Online

It looked over for Evander Holyfield 10 years ago when he lost his world title for the second time and suffered a mild heart attack during a fight in Las Vegas, but on Saturday night his truly amazing career continued in New York.

It looked over for Evander Holyfield 10 years ago when he lost his world title for the second time and suffered a mild heart attack during a fight in Las Vegas, but on Saturday night his truly amazing career continued in New York.

Holyfield is now 42 and has been involved in some of modern boxing's most brutal and memorable heavyweight fights, but against Larry Donald, in the ancient ring at Madison Square Garden, he was so comfortably outpointed over 12 rounds that there appears to be absolutely nowhere left for him to go. Sadly, when the fight was over and Donald had won almost every round on all three scorecards, Holyfield refused to accept what was glaringly obvious and vowed to continue his quest to win the world heavyweight title for the fifth time.

The Holyfield and Donald fight was just one of five heavyweight meetings to take place on Don King's show and as expected the clash between John Ruiz and Polish emigré Andrew Golota was both filthy and controversial.

Ruiz, who was defending his World Boxing Association title, and Golota have a history of taking part in foul-filled fights and on Saturday night they once again set low standards of sportsmanship. Golota threw Ruiz to the floor, knocked him down after the bell in one round, hit him behind the head when he was on the floor in another round and generally broke as many of the sport's codes of conduct as possible.

Ruiz was deducted a point for hitting on the referee's command of "Break" and used his elbow and his head throughout the 12-round fight. In the eighth round Ruiz's manager and corner man, Norman Stone, was sent from the ringside and escorted to a seat by the local police after repeatedly swearing at the referee.

When the entertainment was over Ruiz had retained his title by the narrowest of margins and the good news for fans of dirty boxing is that they will probably do it all again very soon.

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