Former champ Holyfield faces tough times

Updated: 12 June 2008 15:47 IST

Deep in debt, Evander Holyfield has run into legal trouble. Now his 109-room mansion would be auctioned to help pay his loans.


Maybe now we know why former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield wants to keep fighting at age 45.

The "Real Deal" appears real broke.

His USD 10 million estate in suburban Atlanta is under foreclosure, the mother of one of his children is suing for unpaid child support, and a Utah consulting company has gone to court claiming the boxer failed to pay back more than a half million dollars for landscaping.

A legal notice that ran on Wednesday in a small local newspaper said Holyfield's estate will be auctioned off "at public outcry to the highest bidder for cash" at the Fayette County courthouse on July 1.

The 5,000-square-meter home, located on Evander Holyfield Highway, has 109 rooms, including 17 bathrooms, three kitchens and a bowling alley.

Meanwhile, Holyfield's handlers allegedly told the mother of one of his children that he will no longer be able to make his USD 3,000 -a-month support payment. Toi Irvin claims the boxer has already missed two payments, so she has gone to court seeking restitution.

"My concern is there may be a lot of other mothers not getting paid, and I would like my client to be at the front of the line," said Randy Kessler, Irvin's attorney.

Kessler said yesterday he has yet to hear from Holyfield's attorney and hopes to go before a judge in 30 days. He will request the boxer be jailed if he doesn't pay up.

"This is such a small amount given the scope of what he has," Kessler said.

"If Evander Holyfield can get away with it, anybody can. There are guys making USD 15,000 a year who go to jail for missing a USD 100 payment."

Holyfield, the only four-time heavyweight champion, has at least nine children.

Further compounding his financial woes, a federal lawsuit was filed about two weeks ago in Utah seeking repayment of USD 550,000 in loans allegedly made to Holyfield in late 2006 and early 2007 to pay for landscaping on his 235-acre estate.

The case, filed two weeks ago in US District Court in Salt Lake City, said Robert Hall met Holyfield through a mutual friend and agreed to the loan, with the understanding it would be paid back, with interest, after the boxer's next bout.

Since the initial transfer of USD 50,000 was made to Holyfield, he has fought four times but failed to pay back any of the loans, the suit claims. It also says he did not respond to a September 10 letter demanding repayment.

Holyfield didn't return a message left on his cell phone by The Associated Press. His attorney, Frederick Gardner, did not respond to an e-mail nor a call to his Atlanta office.

Holyfield's apparent financial problems are a familiar story in boxing. Joe Louis kept fighting well past his prime trying to pay off a crushing tax debt.

Sugar Ray Robinson admitted he was broke by the time his long career ended. Mike Tyson has squandered most of the vast fortune he accumulated during a career that included two memorable fights with Holyfield.

Holyfield has likely made hundreds of millions of dollars during his 24-year boxing career, including a reported USD 34 million for his second bout with Tyson in 1997, the infamous "Bite Fight" that ended with Tyson being disqualified for gnawing off a chunk of Holyfield's ear.

Topics : Boxing
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