Nikolay Valuev vs. Evander Holyfield

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2008-12-20 : Nikolay Valuev 310¾ lbs beat Evander Holyfield 214¼ lbs by MD in round 12 of 12

Notes

  • Valuev was a 10 to 1 favorite.
  • The WBA announced on December 29 that it ordered a panel of judges to study the video of the fight. The WBA said it "always cares about and respects the fans' and the media's opinion." [1]

Quotes

  • Evander Holyfield: "I thought I did everything necessary to win. I followed the game plan, I didn't get drawn into a toe-to-toe slugfest and I kept him off-balance for much of the fight. I feel I won more rounds than he did. . . . I have a history of proving people wrong and, although I didn't get the decision tonight, I'll make the adjustments that are necessary and go again for another belt. Hopefully, I can get another title shot."
  • Nikolay Valuev: "Holyfield did very well and I'm proud to have fought him, but I know that I won the fight."
  • Promoter Wilfried Sauerland: "Holyfield won the first six rounds and Valuev won the last six. But Holyfield, as the challenger, did not do enough to win the fight." [2]


Giant Valuev did little to deserve victory over Holyfield
By Dan Rafael, ESPN, December 22, 2008

What a humiliating night for boxing. The stench from this fight won't go away even with a strong wind. Everything about it stunk as it notched the hat trick of heinous, specifically: 1. The WBA never should have approved the 46-year-old Holyfield to fight for the title in the first place after he lost his previous fight in lopsided fashion to Sultan Ibragimov for another belt more than a year ago. 2. The fight was horrible, one of the worst heavyweight title fights in history with less contact than an episode of "Dancing With the Stars." 3. The decision was so atrocious and so scandalous that it made Holyfield's gift draw in his first with Lennox Lewis look like a competent ruling. Judges Pierluigi Poppi (the 116-112 joke) and Mikael Hook (the 115-114 disaster) rendered ghastly scorecards. Judge Guillermo Perez Pineda's 114-114 draw was merely disgusting. For the record, ESPN.com, watching the fight on pay-per-view, scored it 117-112 for Holyfield.

Holyfield, who was the fan favorite of the 12,500 in the sold-out crowd, was bidding to become the oldest heavyweight titleholder in history. He also was bidding for a record fifth title reign. But he was ripped off. Badly. Although few gave him any serious chance to win, he deserved to make history in his 25th year as a professional, eight years removed from the last time he held a title.

Holyfield deserved the victory not because he fought well. He didn't. All he did was bounce around, move from side to side and stay about 10 feet from Valuev all night while coming forward a couple of times per round to land a combination. But given that Valuev, who looked like a statue, fought as if he was in a coma all night long, what little Holyfield was doing should have been enough for a landslide points victory.

Valuev barely threw any punches at all. He threw so few that it looked as if he was purposely trying not to hit Holyfield for fear of hurting the old man. Where was the excellent jab he possesses? Never once was there a sense of urgency nor the notion that he should try to do anything other than plod around and follow Holyfield. And remember: Russia's Valuev, 35, is 7 feet and 310 pounds, a mountain of a man. Holyfield is barely 6-foot-2 and weighs 214 pounds. It was a physical mismatch, but Valuev never did one thing to use his advantages. Frankly, you can make more of a legitimate argument that Holyfield won all 12 rounds than you can make one that Valuev claimed at least seven to take the fight. Holyfield, obviously disappointed, summed up the fight well in his postfight interview: "I thought I hit him more times than he hit me."

Broadcaster Nick Charles, handling the blow-by-blow for the U.S. pay-per-view, summed it up even better: "I am shocked, dazed and amazed. That is the worst display of officiating I have ever seen."

Valuev's credibility as a titleholder is nonexistent. Why would anyone pay 10 cents to see him fight again, especially against somebody such as Wladimir or Vitali Klitschko? His nonperformance has reduced him to a joke. As for Holyfield, although he was robbed, hopefully he will finally retire, but that seems unlikely because of the sad state of his financial affairs.

What a thoroughly rotten way to end a great year of boxing that gave us such memorable fights as Israel Vazquez-Rafael Marquez III, Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez II, Tomasz Adamek-Steve Cunningham and Antonio Margarito-Miguel Cotto, not to mention marvelous performances such as Pacquiao against Oscar De La Hoya and Bernard Hopkins against Kelly Pavlik. All have been clouded by this rancid fight and a worse decision. [3]


Preceded by:
Valuev vs. Ruiz II
WBA Heavyweight Title Fight
# 89
Succeeded by:
Chagaev vs. Drumond