Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Holyfield Error: Replacing Men in His Corner

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Holyfield Error: Replacing Men in His Corner

Article excerpt

They are never listed in the tale of the tape. They are usually ignored in the hype. What they do between rounds is upstaged either by a commercial or the banter of television analysts.

But a boxer's cornermen often define a fight, for better or for worse. And more and more, they are defining the heavyweight champion.

In becoming the first lefthanded heavyweight title-holder by beating Evander Holyfield on Friday night, Michael Moorer did what his new trainer, Teddy Atlas, had instructed him to do: use the right jab. And he responded to Atlas' challenge after the eighth round.

"He was getting in the mold of just doing enough to survive," Atlas said Saturday in explaining why he had sat on Moorer's stool in the corner of the ring. "I told him, `If you don't want to fight, I'll fight this guy.' "

In the months before losing the World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation titles for the second time, Holyfield did what he never should have done: change trainers again and dismiss his longtime cutman.

Don Turner was in Holyfield's corner Friday night as both coach and cut man. He did neither job well. Holyfield's tactics didn't change. Turner never closed the cut above the now two-time former champion's left eye.

Holyfield hired Turner, one of boxing's more obscure trainers, after splitting with Emanuel Steward, who sculptured the 12-round decision that dethroned Riddick Bowe last November. Holyfield earlier had deserted his longtime co-trainers, George Benton and Lou Duva, who molded him into a champion and always used 75-year-old Ace Marotta as a cut man.

Marotta was in Holyfield's corner for last year's Bowe rematch, but the two-time champion, who has earned more than $100 million, preferred to save the cut man's $25,000 fee.

Marotta has closed deeper cuts. And by having to treat the cut between rounds, Turner was distracted from telling Holyfield what to do. Holyfield remained an easy target for Moorer's right jab, the punch that kept reopening the cut and clouding his vision in the majority decision after 12 rounds.

None of the others in Holyfield's corner had a useful word. …

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