Michael Jordan Had a $15 Million Boxing Offer to Fight for Heavyweight Title
Following winning his third straight NBA title with the Chicago Bulls, Hall of Famer Michael Jordan decided to retire after nine seasons. Not long after that decision, Jordan chose to pursue a baseball career in honor of his father. Although he had taken another path with his athletic ability, the former Bulls great had another offer on the table to potentially get in the ring to for a heavyweight title fight. That could have seen go in a drastically different direction for Jordan’s NBA and baseball careers.
Michael Jordan pursues baseball career
In the months that followed his retirement from the NBA, Jordan decided to make a serious push at becoming a professional baseball player.
He chose to take the route to play in the Chicago White Sox for team owner and Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf. That began with him getting a shot to play for the White Sox’s AA affiliate, Birmingham Barons.
Jordan had his opportunity to head that route that he did in honor of his father, who was killed back in July 1993. It was a chance for him to pave his path on the baseball field in his second career post the NBA. However, Jordan had another incredible offer after he stepped away from the game of basketball.
Michael Jordan had heavyweight title fight opportunity
In the months that followed his shocking retirement from the NBA in 1993, Jordan had made it clear that he wanted to pursue a baseball career.
However, it wasn’t the only opportunity for him as it saw boxing promoter Dan Duva offer the then-31-year-old a chance to vie for the heavyweight title in a fight against the winner between Evander Holyfield and Michael Moorer with a guaranteed $15 million return, according to the Chicago Tribune.
“This offer is not a joke. We are 100 percent serious,” Duva said in a letter to agent David Falk. “It seems that Mr. Jordan loves the challenge of proving he is the best, regardless of the sport. . . . I would like to offer Michael the ultimate individual sport challenge, an opportunity to fight for the heavyweight championship of the world.”
The fight would have taken place in November 1994 with it marking Jordan’s first-ever boxing bout. He was fresh in retirement with another unique opportunity to prove himself athletically in the squared circle.
He was attempting to pursue a baseball career with White Sox. It didn’t take long for Jordan to give a response to the proposed fight.
Michael Jordan turns down boxing match
There was much appeal to that potential fight as it would put Jordan in the limelight of another sport, where he could make millions.
However, it didn’t take long for him to quickly give a response as he turned down a potential fight with a clear-cut answer, according to UPI.com.
‘I wouldn’t fight those guys if I had a gun in my hand,’ said Jordan, who is 6-6 and 205 pounds.
Jordan knew that it wasn’t the right situation for him as he wasn’t a trained professional boxer with years of training. That would put him a severe disadvantage against either Holyfield or Moorer. There was a guaranteed chance to earn $15 million, but at what cost is what may have led to him to shoot down that scenario altogether.
That could have put him in harm’s way in a potentially dangerous manner regardless of his athletic ability. Duva had offered the fight because he knew the potential marketability to have Jordan go up against a premier talent in the sport in Moorer that year.
Nonetheless, it’s one of those “what-if” scenarios that would have been quite entertaining to see play out.