My Sportsman: Evander Holyfield
He's 45 years old, 6-6 in bouts since 1999 and no more a factor in a ridiculous heavyweight division than you or I. Getting crushed in October for a lame version of the title ought to reveal his dream as delusion. But he refuses to quit, to enjoy his incredible wealth (only
There is nothing to gain here, certainly not a title, not even in this impoverished division. And definitely not four of them. It's a fantasy, and it's likely to be deadly or at least life threatening. He is not quite defenseless in the ring, but he's getting there (after a particularly non-competitive bout in 2004 the New York Athletic Commission revoked his license). As trainer
Now I don't want to be the one guy who condones this pursuit. I've seen four boxers die in the ring and I'd like to keep the count right there. Even in the best of circumstances -- fighters well matched for the right reasons -- boxing is an enterprise that invites a certain reconsideration. Is this really necessary? In this day and age? But we're in the worst of circumstances here. And it would be foolish to hasten Holyfield on to a decline we can see, if he can't quite.
Still -- can't anyone else recognize the wonder of this crazy determination? It's something to behold, really. Holyfield's always been an overachiever -- a blown-up light-heavyweight fighting the likes of Tyson,
His resolve is crazy, of course. But the very fierceness of it -- if it only wasn't going to end in his self-destruction -- is so out of proportion to normal ambition that it's impossible not to admire. And so, on the basis of a determination that is just this shy (so far) of a death wish, we nominate Holyfield our Sportsman of the Year. Good luck, Holy.