Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

New Champion Moorer Aged Holyfield Rapidly

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

New Champion Moorer Aged Holyfield Rapidly

Article excerpt

Round after round, right hook after right hook, Michael Moorer ripped the pages off the calendar, speeding up time for a champion who aged 10 years in 36 minutes of fighting.

Evander Holyfield was 31 when he entered the ring, but he was not 31 when he left it, his ribs and body battered by the 341 punches that Moorer had landed.

Moorer, surviving a knockdown in the second round, scored a majority decision over Holyfield in a 12-round bout Friday night at Caesars Palace, becoming the first lefthander to win the heavyweight title.

"Holyfield aged right before our eyes. He just didn't have it," said Budd Schulberg, who wrote a wonderful novel about the fight game, "The Harder They Fall."

Holyfield tried, but he seemed marooned in his own body, his arms and legs unable to obey his magnificent heart. The knockdown was his first - and virtually last - impressive burst of firepower. He seemed sluggish throughout the bout, connecting on only 194 of 499 punches, compared with 341 of 659 for the unbeaten Moorer, who is 26.

"Evander's going to rest for a couple of weeks and then decide about his future," said Shelly Finkel, who manages the two-time former champion.

Is retirement a possibility?

"Of course, that's a possibility," Finkel said. "But just knowing how determined he is, I think he'll fight again."

Holyfield, hospitalized after the fight for what Finkel said was a "pulled muscle" in his left shoulder, was unavailable for comment.

"They took X-rays, and there's no fracture," Finkel said. "He was in great pain, but nobody's using that as an excuse. Moorer just fought a great fight."

They are not disputing the decision, but those in Holyfield's camp are protesting the judging in the second round, which Jerry Roth scored 10-10 even though Moorer was floored.

Knockdowns usually produce a 10-8 - or at least a 10-9 - score for the man who floored his opponent. Not this time, in Roth's mind, mainly because Moorer had been winning the round before he went down.

The scoring for the fight was so close that a 10-9 score by Roth in the second round would have produced a draw. A draw would have preserved the championship for Holyfield. Two judges scored the fight for Moorer - Roth by 115-114 and Chuck Giampa by 116-112. The third, Dalby Shirley, scored it a draw - 114-114.

Finkel said the decision will be protested with the Nevada State Athletic Commission, the World Boxing Association and the International Boxing Federation, but he said: "We're not trying to overturn the decision. We just want to establish our right to a rematch based on the scoring."

If, indeed, Holyfield wants a rematch. "That's another question entirely," said Dan Duva, who promoted the bout.

Holyfield, who lost the title to Riddick Bowe on Nov. 13, 1992, regained it a year later against the same man, but the fight may have taken more out of him than anyone, including him, suspected. …

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