Evander Holyfield: Balls the Size of Peas

By George Kimball


Evander Holyfield: Balls the Size of Peas

NEW YORK --- When Ron Scott Stevens suspended Evander Holyfield’s boxing license following what the New York State Athletic Commission chairman termed a “poor performance” reflecting “diminished skills” in his November 2004 loss to Larry Donald at Madison Square Garden, Holyfield responded by with a battery of medical tests and the threat of a lawsuit.

The ban was changed to an “administrative suspension,” meaning that Holyfield still can’t fight in New York, but his disbarment does not have to be honored in other jurisdictions.

Turns out that instead of claiming that he was injured and just had a bad night against Donald, Evander may have had the best of excuses.

“Hey,” he could have told Stevens, though he didn’t, “you try fighting ten rounds when your balls have shrunk to the size of a couple of peas.”

According to documents unearthed in the ongoing steroid-distribution probe in which Holyfield’s name (or some version of it, anyway) surfaced this week, The Real Deal turned up at his urologist’s office in September of 2004 – two months before he fought Larry Donald – to be treated for “hypogonadism.”

To be fair, the documents don’t say exactly that. What they say is that somebody named “Evan Fields” was treated for hypogonadism in September, and that the malady was presumably related to the fact that in June of that same year “Evan Fields” obtained a supply of testosterone, Glukor, and injection supplies, and that three weeks later “Evan Fields” picked up five vials of Human Growth Hormone, all from the same Georgia uroligist.

Evan Fields and the former heavyweight champion share more than a similarity of names. Evan ordered the drugs from an address as “794 Evander, Fairfield, Ga.,” and his birthday – Oct. 19, 1962 – is the same one BoxRec lists for Holyfield.

And when two Sports Illustrated reporters dialed the number listed on Evan Fields’ prescription, Evander Holyfield answered the telephone.

Unlike, say, Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, the two San Francisco Chronicle reporters who were threatened with jail time for refusing to divulge their sources in the BALCO probe, Luis Llosa and Jon Wertheim, the SI scribes whom the authorities invited to ride shotgun in this week’s steroid sweep, appear to have enjoyed a cooperative relationship with the law enforcement from the outset.

A bit too chummy, some, like Holyfield, are bound to say. It may have been the result of a grandstand play on the part of the investigators, but there can be little doubt that Llosa and Wertheim (see SI.com) have their story down cold.

As an interesting sidelight to the present investigation, Llosa and Wertheim contacted Dr. Margaret Goodman, the chief ringside physician for the Nevada State Athletic Commission, who told them that the heart malady evinced by Holyfield following his 1994 loss to Michael Moorer (Remember the ‘non-compliant left ventricle? The one Evander self-cured through prayer?) was suspicious at the time, since the symptoms were consistent with Human Growth Hormone use.

When Holyfield denied having used HGH, that avenue of investigation was effectively forestalled.

Among several prominent athletes implicated in this week’s dragnet, Holyfield was the only boxer. (Or, in New York, former boxer.) By Wednesday morning Donald Tremblay, the publicist for Main Events, the New Jersey-based promoters who recently signed the former heavyweight champion, issued a statement in which Holyfield typically denied everything:

“I do not use steroids,” Holyfield insisted in his communiquÈ. “I have never used steroids.† I resent that my name has been linked to known steroid users by sources who refuse to be identified in order to generate publicity for their investigation.† I’m disappointed that certain members of the media fell for this ploy and chose to use my name in headlines and publish my photo alongside stories in today’s newspaper about an investigation into a practice that has nothing to do with me or what I stand for.”

Ironically, Holyfield held court at a barbeque joint in midtown Manhattan last Tuesday, having convened a press conference to announce that he will be fighting Vinny Maddalone in Corpus Christi, Texas on March 17. It would appear that the 44 year-old Holyfield got out of town one step ahead of the posse. The steroids story hit the New York papers the next morning.

Evander can protest all he wants. Suffice it to say that right now, the feds probably have a better case against Holyfield than they do against Barry Bonds. Holyfield can point out all he wants to that he has never tested positive for steroids. Neither has Bonds.
The question is, or ought to be: Do you believe either of them?


Send questions and comments to: gkimball@boxingtalk.com