Evander Holyfield’s Gift To Sherman Williams

Without Evander Holyfield, Sherman Williams would never be headlining a pay-per-view event. His name would never be mentioned on ESPN, and he most certainly wouldn’t be talked about first thing in the morning on CNN.

Most importantly though, without Evander Holyfield, Williams’ future outlook in boxing would be cloudy at best.

“I’ll just hitch my wagon on all of these other plans Evander’s been making and ride the same road,” said Williams, a 38-year old Bahamian veteran based in Palm Springs, Fla.

Williams (34-11, 19 KO) will meet Holyfield (43-10, 28 KO) this Saturday at The Greenbrier in White Sulpher Springs, W.Va. in an event broadcast on Integrated Sports Pay-Per-View. With a victory, Williams figures to make every sports section in every newspaper across North America, and the marquee of every boxing website on the internet.

“The Caribbean Tank” has had just four fights since the end of 2006. Two bouts ago, Williams contested Andrew Greeley, he of now 34 losses, in a six round affair at a nightclub in Jacksonville, Fla. known for karaoke night. Four fights ago, he knocked fellow journeyman Ralph West out in three rounds under the lights of a converted bingo hall in Olive Branch, Miss.

It’s no wonder that he doesn’t think Holyfield should have walked away from the sport by now.

“I think it’s a good thing that a guy who’s been around the block still can do what he’s doing in 2011,” said Williams. “I think it’s honorable to him and respectable to see that a guy could go this long and take care of himself and still maintain physically and mentally what it takes to perform on a high level. To be honest with you, I think it’s commendable.”

In some ways, the bombast of Holyfield regarding winning the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world clouds the positive effects his continuation has on the second or third tier of heavyweights.

Whether the former heavyweight and cruiserweight champion of the world will be fighting the Klitschko brothers or David Haye down the road is not pertinent. Holyfield has beat the stuffing out of the Lou Savarese, Vinny Maddalone and Jeremy Bates types since 2006. The journeymen, not the legend, took a beating, but also deposited a larger-than-usual paycheck afterward, which might be exactly what Holyfield has left to give to the sport and its forgotten participants.

“That’s the way boxing goes. That’s part of the game,” admits Williams, referring to facing aging opponents.

Even if Williams has his hand raised on Saturday night, the answer to, “What’s next?” for both men will still be the same as it was before: “Who knows?” But for Holyfield, the question would have a somber answer. For Williams, it wouldn’t be somber at all. The possibilities would be plentiful.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.