By Mesuli Zifo
Evander Holyfield might have long passed his sell-by date with his bouts characterized by frowns than praises but in South Africa he still seems to be an after-sought commodity as he is the subject of a tug-of-war.
Rodney Berman of Golden Gloves Promotion (GGP) and Francois Botha are embroiled in a tussle to lure the 48-year-old Holyfield to fight in South Africa.
And ironically Botha wants to match himself against the Real Deal in a rematch of their April 2010 when he lost via an eighth round stoppage.
The 42-year-old Botha, who is riding on an upset sixth round victory over highly touted Flo Simba in a GGP show in June, was hoping to parlay his stunning win to a Holyfield rematch.
But Berman who promised the Simba-Botha winner of a crack against the Real Deal, reportedly backtracked when his favored fighter Simba lost.
Botha then tried to organize the fight himself under his White Buffalo Promotion and went as far as revealing that Holyfield had already signed the contract for the bout he said was to be held in SA city on Durban on October 1.
But Berman who is now facing pressure from his sponsors to bring Holyfield to the country, disputed Botha’s claims, insisting that the Real Deal has not signed anything as yet with Botha.
“I spoke to Holyfield’s people and they told me that he has not signed anything with Botha as yet,” Berman said.
Berman has now taken upon himself to try to bring Holyfield to SA under GGP to fight Botha or any other opponent if Botha does not want to cooperate.
One of the names mentioned as a possible opponent for Holyfield in the event Botha does not cooperate is Polish fighter Albert Sosnowski.
Sosnowski’s relationship with Berman remains cordial dating back from 2006 when the Polish giant beat Osborne Machimana in a GGP tournament in SA.
“Look, our first preference is Botha but maybe he might sulk for failing to do the fight himself so we will look for another opponent for Holyfield,” Berman added.
Holyfield is still held in high regard in South Africa after he toured the country shortly after his infamous ear-munching farce with Mile Tyson way back in 1997.
Berman said his funders are interested in a Holyfield bout in SA.