Thankfully, former heavyweight great Chris Byrd is all but certain to call it a day after his failed experiment at light heavyweight (175 lbs.) ended with a knockout, severe shoulder injury and a frightening encounter in the hospital.
Byrd would retire with wins over Evander Holyfield, Vitali Klitschko, David Tua, Andrew Golota, Jameel McCline DaVarryl Williamson and Fres Oquendo in a career that saw him capture a heavyweight title belt twice.
His wife and manager told ESPN:
“I’m not letting him fight anymore,” said Tracy Byrd, choking back tears in a telephone conversation from Valley Hospital in Las Vegas late Friday night. “It’s almost a relief to know that he’s not going to do it anymore. It probably isn’t a relief to him because he’s so competitive. But for those around him, it’s a relief.”
And what if Byrd refuses to give it up?
“He would have to try to do it without my support,” she said. “And I don’t think he wants to do that.”
And she released this statement today:
“Chris is ok. His spirits are HIGH. He is closer to the Lord then ever in his life and trusts that he will take care of everything. Chris is disappointed in last night. He said he was feeling off in the dressing room. Felt like his legs weren’t there from the beginning of the fight. When he got dropped in the first round he hurt his shoulder. We believe it tore a rotator cuff and ultimately dislocated his shoulder during the course of the fight. We will have it examined on Monday. The injury really kept him from throwing his left.
“When Chris returned to the dressing room the doctors had to sedate him to pop his shoulder back in. The medicines were a bit overwhelming for his body and they couldn’t wake him. The result of that was they had to rush him by ambulance to the hospital and use other meds to counteract the ones given to him in the dressing room. It was very scary for his friends and family. But he came through. His shoulder is very sore but he is feeling better.
“Chris congratulates Shaun George on his victory and hopes he takes advantage of the opportunity of his victory to the fullest and continues to work hard. Shaun and his wife have a baby on the way and wishes them the best.”
Classy to the end. I expect Byrd’s made some good dough playing David to the Goliaths in the heavyweight division, so he doesn’t have any financial reason to continue, and if he hasn’t made enough dough, I’m sure he’d make a good trainer or something of the sort.