This just in from the Dept. of Sad But True: Evander Holyfield is scheduled to return to the ring Jan. 22, headlining a PPV card called “Redemption In America: The Journey Begins Now,” in that boxing hotbed of White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.
Loser of two of the three fights he’s had since 2007, the 48-year-old Holyfield (43-10-2, 28 KOs) will defend his meaningless World Boxing Federation heavyweight title against Sherman Williams (34-11-2, 19 KOs) in the 12-round main event, which will be available on Shaw PPV across Canada.
“This show is a feel-good story about America and Evander Holyfield,” says ARK Promotions president Rick Lazes, who is fronting the card. “Our show will be a one-of-a-kind event: real boxing, real entertainment, real pain.”
The only pain will be felt by anyone goofy enough to shell out real money for this travesty.
Few fighters of any era meshed their style with the environment that spawned them any better than 1960s light heavyweight contender Frankie Depaula.
Now the unlikely odyssey of the New Jersey brawler has been brought to life in a brilliant biography by Adeyinka Makinde that gets my vote as 2010’s best boxing book.
More than simply recounting the ring exploits of the force of nature who counted goodfellas like Frank Sinatra, Joe Namath and Frankie Valli among his legion of fans, Jersey Boy: The Life and Mob Slaying of Frankie Depaula stands as the definitive time capsule of an era when boxing was desperately trying to salvage some respectability in a quagmire of corruption and backroom brokering.
Makinde, a Nigerian-born lawyer who set the biographical standard with Dick Tiger: The Life & Times of a Boxing Immortal a few years back, used New Jersey’s Freedom of Information and Open Public Records acts to access sensitive files that led to direct contact with still-living sources who helped flesh out the saga.
Depaula’s involvement in an $80,000 heist, his participation in alleged fixed bouts and a dalliance with the stepdaughter of a high-ranking mobster culminated in his execution-style shooting in a dark alley.
Makinde brings it all to life through meticulous research, painstaking chapter notes and a smooth, lyrical writing style.
Now’s the time to read the original (available at amazon.com), before Hollywood turns it into another clichéd stereotype.
Meanwhile, here are some other recent titles that are definitely worth adding to your fistic library:
Bute defence set
IBF super middleweight champion Lucian Bute (27-0, 22 KOs) of Montreal will defend his world title against the Top 10 contender Brian Magee (34-3-1, 24 KOs) of Ireland at Montreal’s Bell Centre on March 19.
The card , which will be televised live on the Showtime Network, will also feature IBF junior featherweight champ Steve Molitor (33-1, 12 KOs) of Toronto facing No. 1 contender Takalani Ndlovu (31-6, 18 KOs) of South Africa for a third time.