By Jordan Buscarini
3,127 people witnessed Crown Boxing’s production of the “The Legend Returns” at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada Saturday night. The 47 year old Evander Holyfield (43-10-2) stopped Frans Botha (47-5-3) with 2:05 in the 8th round to become the WBF Heavyweight Champion of the World. Bored by a seemingly tedious undercard, the crowd became loud and alive as Botha and Holyfield entered the ring, Holyfield being the obvious crowd favorite.
Holyfield, sporting his traditional white, purple and red “Warrior” trunks got off to a slow start. Botha began the fight as the aggressor, being warned in the opening round for a double punch, and then warned again in round two and three for hitting behind the head. It was round two when a right hand from Botha sent Holyfield off balance and into the ropes. From that point on the “Real Deal” seemed to find his groove and never looked back, closing the gap in rounds three and four. Holyfield seemed to find his balance in his hop which was missing in the first two rounds, this allowed the 47 year old to get to the inside and land several clean punches. Fatigue seemed to play a factor for Botha going into the fifth round; Holyfield could obviously sense this as well as he softened up the former Champion Botha in the next two rounds. Holyfield dominated the seventh round, knocking Botha against the ropes and putting him in a daze as the bell rang. Botha, feeling the after-shock of several Holyfield upper-cuts and hooks had a difficult time returning to his corner. In the eighth round Holyfield delivered a solid right hand to the chin, putting Botha on the canvas. Botha would beat the ten count, but only 31 seconds later referee Russell Mora stopped the bout and declared Holyfield the winner as Evander backed Botha into the corner and began to unload with a flurry of combinations.
“I’m going to be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world,” Holyfield said during the after fight press conference, “George Foreman said, ‘It’s not about my age’, he became heavyweight champion of the world.”
So what is next for Holyfield? It was mentioned that a potential fight with one of the Klitschko brothers could be in the works, or possibly a showdown with another current Heavyweight Champion David Haye. In a seemingly weak division, Holyfield has once again placed his name in the mix to receive a shot at a major Heavyweight title.
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