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Holyfield considering retirement
10/15/2003 9:39 PM
By Dan Rafael, USA TODAY
Although many have cried for Evander Holyfield to retire after his ninth-round TKO loss to James Toney on Oct. 4, the former four-time heavyweight champ hasn't made a definitive decision about his career. Immediately after the fight, Holyfield, who turns 41 next week, said he would keep boxing. However he is contemplating retirement, Jim Thomas, Holyfield's attorney and close friend, said Wednesday.
"We've had extensive conversations and we'll talk some more, but he's not ready for me to say anything yet," Thomas said. "He wants to think a little more."
Thomas will accompany Holyfield this week to Nigeria, where they were invited to the Pan African Games by Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo. Thomas said the quiet time on the airplane will allow them to discuss the future and that he expects Holyfield to announce his intentions soon, perhaps next week.
And despite Showtime putting on one of its best pay-per-view telecasts, the losses on Holyfield-Toney were substantial. Showtime lost more than $2 million on the show, a commercial bomb with about 150,000 buys. Losses were so heavy that in order to balance its budget, Showtime got Holyfield to agree to a deferred payment in January of about $2 million of his $5 million purse.
Thomas didn't want to talk about that but offered, "Hypothetically you can see how a company at the end of its calendar-year budget would want to time payments a bit. Almost anything Showtime would ask of us, if it was in our power, we would do. They've been very good to us over the years, and we would welcome an opportunity to reciprocate."
Gatti title shot:
Former junior lightweight champ Arturo Gatti will get a shot at his second title, facing Italy's Gianluca Branco for a vacant junior welterweight belt Jan. 24 in Atlantic City (HBO).
But the way it came about is bizarre, even by boxing's standards.
Gatti and Branco will meet for the WBC title, which belonged to Kostya Tszyu. At last week's convention in Moscow, the WBC approved Gatti-Branco after declaring Tszyu "champion emeritus." Technically, Tszyu was relieved of the belt (one of his three) because he hasn't made a mandatory WBC defense in more than two years. However, he'll be allowed to carry the belt into the ring against Sharmba Mitchell in February.
The WBC's spin is that Tszyu has been "elevated" in status.
Erik Morales, who made a spectacular 130-pound debut with a third-round knockout of Guty Espadas in their Oct. 4 rematch, has vacated his featherweight title.
By beating Espadas, Morales became the mandatory for junior lightweight titlist Jesus Chavez. They'll meet Feb. 21 (HBO) as long as Chavez wins a Nov. 21 defense.
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