FLASHBACK: Evander Holyfield's last fight in May 2011

Evander Holyfield is preparing to make a sensational boxing comeback at the age of FIFTY-EIGHT… so, what happened in the heavyweight great’s last fight a decade ago?

  • Boxing legend Evander Holyfield is set to make a sensational return to the sport
  • He will follow in rival Mike Tyson’s footsteps by returning to boxing in his 50s 
  • The American former undisputed world champion’s last fight was in May 2011
  • Here, Sportsmail revisits that fight as the ‘Real Deal’s prepares for his comeback

Evander Holyfield is set to become the latest boxing legend to make a sensational return to the sport in his mid-50s.

Holyfield has followed in the footsteps of old rival Mike Tyson in plotting a comeback, with the 58-year-old set to face former Irish star Kevin McBride, 47, in an eight-round exhibition match on June 5.

The fight will be the first time the former undisputed cruiserweight and heavyweight world champion has stepped in the ring competitively for 10 years, with his last bout coming against Brian Nielsen in May 2011.

Here, Sportsmail revisits that last fight as the ‘Real Deal’ prepares to make his grand comeback.

Legend Evander Holyfield is set to make a sensational return to boxing at the age of 58

The American has not been seen in the ring since May 2011, when he beat Brian Nielsen

May 7, 2011. A 48-year-old Holyfield was preparing to finally face Denmark’s Nielsen in what the veteran American hoped would be a springboard to another title fight.

The bout had been two months later than originally planned after an out-of-sorts Holyfield suffered a cut in a no contest result against journeyman Sherman Williams in January of that year.

There were few better than Holyfield during his prime but the fight against Williams was far from showing the great in his prime. 

After that fight, described as an ‘excruciatingly bad pay-per-view – perhaps the worst ever’ by ESPN via BoxingRec, the boxing great had been urged to hang up his gloves for good.

But he was determined to keep going and looked in much better form by the time the bout with Nielsen in Copenhagen came about in May.

After struggling a few months earlier, Holyfield made an aggressive start in Copenhagen

The then 48-year-old secured a 10th-round technical knock-out victory against the Dane (R)

At the time, Holyfield revealed his desire to secure another title fight after the victory

Holyfield secured a 10th round technical knock-out against the underdog to seemingly keep alive his slim hopes of another title challenge.

After an aggressive start before an eighth-round fightback from Nielsen with the favourite tiring, Holyfield was eventually able to push his opponent in the corner before landing several right-left combinations, leading the fight to be stopped.     

If anyone was in any doubt over Holyfield’s desire for another title fight despite being just a few years shy of his 50th birthday, the Alabama-born boxer reiterated there was no way he was stopping just yet.

‘My goal still is to be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world,’ Holyfield said. ‘This fight showed other champions what I am able to do, but it also taught me I got to be better. The most important is that I didn’t quit. I am not a quitter.’ 

But it would be prove to be his last fight – for now – as Holyfield struggled to secure the title fight he so desperately craved. 

His career would go into limbo for several years, with the heavyweight titles being held by Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko in the early 2010s.

He would struggle to secure the bout after that, though, as the Klitschko brothers held belts

While Holyfield boldly claimed he could still beat the dominant Ukrainian brothers, he admitted in October 2012 he is struggling to secure a fight and his time in the sport may be up. 

‘I can’t make nobody fight. The game’s been good to me and I hope I’ve been good to the game. […] I’m 50 years old (on Friday) and I’ve pretty much did everything that I wanted to do in boxing.’ 

It would not be until June 2014 that he officially retired at the grand old age of 51 with a record of 44-10-2, with that victory against Nielsen three years earlier his last one.

But that now looks set to change seven years on, with Holyfield set to go eight rounds with fellow former star McBride.

Holyfield posted on his Instagram a picture of him looking fine shape with the caption: ‘I’m at 220 (pounds) and ready to (fight). Announcement coming soon’ to all-but confirm he is stepping back into the ring.

It follows fellow boxing alumnus Tyson and Roy Jones Jr who came back for an exhibition bout in November, in a card that proved a huge success as the box office.

If he is able to secure a victory in the no-headguards match, a return to facing old rival Tyson, who Holyfield is the only man to beat twice, could be on the cards.

Holyfield posted a picture of him looking in shape to all-but confirm his return to boxing

He revealed he weighs 220 pounds and suggested an announcement on his fight will be soon

‘I want Holyfield and I want Lennox Lewis this year,’ Tyson revealed on his Hotboxin’ Podcast. 

Before that he has the task of defeating McBride, whose last fight was just a few months ago in January and was the man who seemingly ended Tyson’s career with a victory back in 2005.

A task Holyfield will undoubtably relish, but 10 years on from that victory in Copenhagen, how the ‘Real Deal’ will fare is anyone’s guess. 

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