December 20, 2008
Nikolay Valuev has a 96-pound weight advantage on Evander Holyfield but he's fighting like the smaller man. Valuev has been tentative simply throwing the jab out as a feeler but rarely landing. Holyfield wasn't much more active in the opening two rounds. He threw about 15 punches in each round but landed nearly all of them. Nothing too hard but Holyfield is getting in the overhand left whenever he wants it. The crowd in Zurich is very much pro-Holyfield. They may turn soon though if there isn't more action. Analyst Al Bernstein is already saying the fight is tired and tedious.
Yahoo! Sports has Holyfield leading 30-27.
It's getting worse. The very fair-minded Bernstein is losing his cool saying Valuev's performance:
"Is one of the worst I’ve ever seen. It's atrocious."
Holyfield's movement is simply too much for the lumbering giant. Who thought they'd say that a heavyweight champ can't catch a 46-year-old? Evander keeps fighting at the same pace, throwing about 20 punches a round. Valuev simply isn't firing back and he's not closing the distance.
Yahoo! Sports has Holyfield leading 60-54.
Trainer Tommy Brooks tells Holyfield to avoid staying stationary. Holyfield is starting to slow down and getting more brave. As a result, it's allowing Valuev to throw and land more punches. But we're talking about landing nine punches as opposed to three in the early rounds. He didn't overwhelm with volume but Valuev landed enough in the seventh and eighth to grab his first rounds of the fight. The ninth may have presented us with the best two-way action of the fight. Finally, there were a few scrums.
Yahoo! Sports has Holyfield leading 88-83.
Holyfield slowed down but it still didn't motivate Valuev to throw punches in bunches and go for the knockout. I'll be generous and give the Russian the 11th and 12th rounds based on more aggression, but he never landed anything of significance or threw with any power. Valuev's corner knew he was in trouble before the final round. Cutman Malcolm Garrett screams, "You better knock this guy out!" After the fight, Valuev walks around the ring saluting the crowd; they respond with a hearty boo.
Yahoo! Sports gives the win to Holyfield 116-112.
Unbelievable! The judges give a majority decision to Valuev. He retains the WBA heavyweight title. Guillermo Perez scored it a draw, 114-114. The other judges, Pierluigi Poppi gave a lopsided 116-112 win to Valuev, and Mikael Hook had the odd score of 115-114 for Valuev.
Holyfield was understandably down after the fight saying:
"I don't think anything was lacking. I hit him more times than he hit me. I moved a lot and made him miss punches. And I fought the fight that I felt was good for me to win."
When Holyfield was asked how the Russian giant compared to other champions he's fought like Lennox Lewis, Riddick Bowe and Mike Tyson, this was the best he could come up with:
"It's quite different. He's a big guy. I know that he doesn't have much experience," Holyfield said about a guy who is now 50-1. "Facing someone 7-foot who's decent is difficult. He's a strong guy. He's able to do the things necessary to not get hit by a lot of punches."
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