By Geoffrey Ciani: Former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield is slated to face Lou Savarese Friday night. This will mark the fourth bout in Holyfield’s latest comeback as he continues his quest to regain the undisputed heavyweight championship. Most people view this fight as nothing more than a stepping-stone for the aging Holyfield. In fact, a win over Savarese might well propel him into a title shot, warranted or otherwise.
This begs the question: Can Savarese beat Holyfield?
Most observers don’t believe he can, and at first glance, such an opinion is understandable. However, if one considers Holyfield’s recent performances, it is entirely plausible that big Lou has a good shot. After all, Holyfield is no longer the talented pugilist he’s best remembered as.
Instead, he’s an aging warrior with a lethargic work rate—the only thing which remains from old is his heart and courage.
Unfortunately for Evander, heart and courage aren’t always enough. Will they be enough against Savarese? That really depends more on Savarese’s preparations than anything else.
Holyfield’s trainer, Ronnie Shields, has indicated he’s trained Holyfield for a knockout. This means there’s a strong likelihood that Holyfield will go for an early KO, perhaps in an attempt to emulate Mike Tyson’s victory over Savarese some seven years ago This might bode well for Savarese. For starters, Holyfield has never had the type of KO power Tyson has. That in itself gives Lou a better chance off the bat.
Plus, if Lou’s prepared for this type of early onslaught, which he undoubtedly should be, this may help him, because if Holyfield doesn’t succeed in getting Savarese out of there early, there’s a good chance that Holyfield will have exerted more energy than he’s allotted. In other words, Holyfield tires easily and if he fails to take Savarese out in the early going it might well doom his efforts.
The simple fact is Holyfield has an anemic punch output; he simply cannot throw punches in bunches. He typically throws one punch at a time, and even worse, he has difficulty getting inside on opponents, which means he’s often out of position and open to counters. He works in spurts, throws very few punches, and spends much of his time recuperating—if Savarese is prepared for this predictable style, he should make a good account of himself.
Since Holyfield lacks the type of power and punch output to cause too many problems, Savarese should be able to find a rhythm. If Lou can maintain his distance and establish his jab, while dropping in the occasional right hand, he stands a great chance at winning. He simply needs to stay outside and punish Holyfield whenever he attempts to get inside. In reality, the formula for a Savarese victory is quite simple. Whether or not he can execute the plan may not be as simple.
So again, everything boils down to how well-prepared Savarese is for this bout. If Savarese is in good shape and is able to survive the early onslaught, he’s halfway there. All he’d need to do the rest of the way is stay outside and utilize his size advantage while throwing more punches than Holyfield—this should be relatively easy–IF Savarese is in good shape, that is.
If he’s not in good shape, this one could go either way; if he is in good shape, I won’t be the least bit surprised if we see an upset.
This article was also published at East Side Boxing