Boxing: Holyfield lines up title fight at the age of 48

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The Independent Online

It was established long ago that all rumours in boxing are true and on Saturday night, as Alexander Povetkin added the World Boxing Association "regular" heavyweight title to his 2004 Olympic gold medal, the arrival at ringside of Evander Holyfield confirmed the maxim.

In the days before the fight, Holyfield, 48, arrived in Erfut, Germany to smile at fans and gently deny he was preparing to fight the winner. The American veteran remains active, losing a WBA title fight to Nikolai Valuev in 2008 and winning a fight earlier this year.

On Saturday night, Povetkin was helped through some difficult rounds against Ruslan Chagaev by his trainer Teddy Alas, who had to remind Povetkin that he was fighting for his dead father. Atlas did something similar in Las Vegas in 1994 when he was in the corner with Michael Moorer against Holyfield in a world title fight; Moorer wanted to quit before Atlas produced pictures of the boxer's deceased relations as a motivational tool: Moorer won a tight decision.

Holyfield, who posed for photographs with Potevkin after the bout, won the world heavyweight title in 1990 and in 1986 got his first title at cruiserweight over the obsolete fifteen-round distance.

A Holyfield fight for the Russian will probably make common sense financially but everybody involved will need to carefully consider the repercussions before making plans to extend the boxing life of one of the sport's best modern fighters. Holyfield's glory years were so brutal and so long ago that it is difficult to reconcile the image of the middle-aged man smiling next to Povetkin on Saturday night with the man swapping body parts with Mike Tyson in 1997.

Povetkin could in theory cause the dominant Klitschko brothers a problem or two. However, it remains to be seen if Atlas is convinced that his fighter is ready; if he decides against a Klitschko fight anytime soon it will make being the WBA's "regular" champion a joke, which is a pity because Povetkin is a good fighter.

However, it is hard to forget that Povetkin was not good enough to fight either Klitschko brother last year for a genuine world title, according to Atlas. Povetkin is now poised to join either a list of forgotten heavyweight champions like Lamon Brewster, Samuel Peter and Sergei Liakhovich or go for glory against the best.