Head Butt Causes Evander Holyfield-Sherman Williams 'No-Contest'
Four-time heavyweight champion Evander "The Real Deal" Holyfield, having complained to corner man, Tommy Brooks, of being blinded by blood that dripped into his left eye from a cut that resulted from an accidental head butt, remained on his stool prior to the fourth round of Saturday's bout against Sherman "Tank" Williams at the Greenbrier Resort in southeastern West Virginia.
Replays supported referee Dave Johnson's decision that the damage had been caused by an accidental clash of heads during the second round.
The result was a ruled a no-contest as in accordance with West Virginia's mandate that a fight that does not end in a knockout go four rounds or longer before it can be considered official.
The 48-year-old Holyfield slipped to 43-10-3, with 28 knockouts and one no-contest, and Williams, to 34-11-3, with 19 stoppages and a no-contest.
"The big thing is that I'm cut and it was a head butt and he comes down low and I get hit ever time in the face with his head," said Holyfield. "Do I have to wait until I get hurt? Realistically I could just see the blood coming into my eye."
Holyfield said that he was unsure if he would maintain his plans to go through with a scheduled trip to Denmark for a March 5 bout against 45-year-old Brian Nielsen (64-2, 43 KOs) in Nielsen's native country.
"I don't know. I've got a cut. I've got a cut," said Holyfield.
Asked if he would give Williams a rematch, Holyfield said, "Of course I will."
Stopped just once in his career, that being a fifth round knockout against Robert Davis in May of 1999, Williams targeted the cut and gave Holyfield plenty of trouble in the third round as the result of his sneaky, over hand right hand.
Williams nailed Holyfield with a right hand at least four times solidly -- the last of which wobbled and nearly dropped the older man just prior to the bell.
"After the first round he was falling into my trap. When he felt I was in retreat, bang with the over hand right, and that's when I saw blood," said Williams. "I cut him with the counter-punch. The over hand right. I split him open."
When Holyfield returned to his corner, he looked tired and somewhat bewildered. While sitting on his stool, having his eye treated by Brooks, Holyfield complained, "the blood is getting into my eye," and, "I can't see."
Meanwhile, as Johnson approached to warn Holyfield about the clashing of heads, Brooks reiterated "The blood is getting into his eye."
Before leaving the corner, Johnson, assured that Holyfield would not continue, informed the group, that "it will be a no-contest and a technical draw." He then turned and shouted, "The fight is over."
"I've had my own personal setbacks. To get over what I did was a miracle. I trained hard for this fight," said Williams. "I was fighting a legend and I can't take anything away from him. I feel like I should have won by TKO. I cut him with an overhand right, but I respect him."
Holyfield was coming off of April's eighth-round knockout of 41-year-old Francois Botha (47-5-3, 28 KOs) at Las Vegas' Thomas and Mack Center, which made him the fringe WBF titlist.
"I'm very disappointed. He fought the way he should have. He understood he would have his head low when he threw the overhand right. If I didn't move back, we'd clash heads," said Holyfield.
"It was to his advantage to get lower because he's short. Being that short he had to fight that fight. He didn't have to, he chose to," said Holyfield. "Stuff like this happens and I'll shake it off. Hopefully, I'll get this stitched up and it won't be a problem. Life goes on, it's part of boxing."
But Holyfield looked his age against Williams, who wants to face him again.
"Now what we can do for a rematch and tourism is let's bring this fight to Atlantis. Holyfield-Tank part II. I had 12 months off from the ring, you know, as the result of some back injuries. But I just kept training hard and I'm back," said Williams.
"This Holyfied fight, when it was first made, it was for November, which I thought that was a total blessing for me," said Williams. "However, it turned into a circus. On-again, off-again, on-again, off-again. But I stayed focused, I stayed in the gym near my trainer, John David Jackson. Heck, I'll go to Denmark in his place and face Nielsen."
Eventually, Holyfield would like to get one of the three title holders of the major belts -- either of the Ukranian sibling champions, Vitali Klitschko (41-2, 38 KOs), of the WBC, or, Wladimir Klitschko (55-3, 49 KOs), of the WBO, IBF and IBO, or England's WBA king David Haye (25-1, 23 KOs) -- to oppose him in the ring.
Holyfied is trying to surpass George Foreman as the oldest fighter in the history of the sport to win a significant world title, following a then-45-year-old Foreman's knock out Michael Moorer in the 10th round on November 5, 1994, that made him the eldest man to win a heavyweight crown.
But Williams believes that Holyfield should think about retirement.
"I root for him. He's almost 50 and still training and performing. I admire what he's done. But it's time to let younger guys fight, and older guys do television commentary. He's not as good looking as I am," said Williams.
"You've made sacrifices, won four world championships and fought in the Olympics. But this is a new time, a new era," said Williams. "Mr. Holyfield shouldn't be taking punches from younger guys. That's how I feel. It's time for him to move on but, if he wants, we can do it again."
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