Evander Holyfield Has Lost Nearly Everything Since Retiring From Boxing

Evander Holyfield holds a well-deserved legacy as one of boxing’s greatest champions. Whether fans love his legendary fights against Riddick Bowe or controversial bouts against Lennox Lewis, Holyfield’s name will forever connect to ’90s boxing. But in recent years, he hit hard times and faced some financial troubles.

Many athletes struggle post-retirement. Unfortunately, Holyfield seems to be one of those cases. Let’s take a closer look at the problems he’s faced since retiring from boxing.

Evander Holyfield’s career

While Holyfield may have current economic troubles, he did pretty well in the ring, especially during his prime. Nicknamed “The Real Deal,” Holyfield retired as one of the most decorated heavyweights of all time. He finished his career with a record of 44-10, with 29 of his wins coming via knockout.

The International Boxing Hall of Fame inducted him as a member in 2017. Holyfield won multiple heavyweight titles throughout his illustrious career. Fans know him for his truly epic confrontations with other legendary fighters. Some of Holyfield’s most famous heavyweight title fights included: 

  • A classic trilogy of matchups against Bowe. 
  • Two fights against Lewis to unify the heavyweight titles — one with a controversial draw decision and a second where Lewis defeated Holyfield. 
  • One of the most famous bouts in boxing history: his second fight against Mike Tyson, where Tyson was disqualified for biting off a chunk of Holyfield’s ear. 

Holyfield fought well into the 2000s, a shell of his former self. After looking unimpressive in his last several fights, he finally retired in 2011. 

Evander Holyfield’s financial troubles

Evander Holyfield in 2020
Evander Holyfield in 2020 | Alex Menendez/Getty Images

Unfortunately for Holyfield, he wasn’t nearly as impressive with his finances as he was with his jab. Holyfield lost nearly all the fortune he amassed during his boxing career. He can chalk this up to gambling debts accrued in the casinos of Atlantic City and Las Vegas, bad business decisions, and lawsuits. He also has three divorces with 11 children fathered by five women — a paternity record that would make Travis Henry blush

Holyfield has paid millions in child support. He even had his own daughter sue him for six figures. Holyfield at one time owned a 109-room mansion in Atlanta. He had to sell it for pennies on the dollar, owing over $14 million in missed mortgage payments. According to Holyfield, it’s been nothing but an uphill battle for him, especially due to the number of kids he has: 

“These are difficult days… Dealing with all the mothers of all my kids — there ain’t no winning here, man, no winning at all. I’ve had no money to pay lawyers and had to fight on my own in court and that ain’t easy.”

Along with selling his house, Holyfield also had to sell his boxing memorabilia. It’s an absolutely heartbreaking story. Holyfield clearly has cognitive issues due to his years in the ring. It’s hard to see a way around his financial troubles not being tied to that somehow. 

What Evander Holyfield is up to now

This past autumn, there was talk of Holyfield returning for a charity bout in Japan. The fight has yet to materialize and one look at Holyfield would hope it doesn’t. Along with potential issues with his brain apparent from his slurred speech, Holyfield had well-documented heart problems during his career. He’s also 57 years old.

Holyfield has nothing left to prove, and there has to be a better way for him to get solvent than to participate in the absolute bloodsport that would be a boxing match in this stage of his life. Here’s hoping that if he does participate in a boxing match, it resembles something closer to the charity bout he had against U.S. Senator Mitt Romney several years ago.