Good crowd, “great atmosphere” in Las Vegas for this WBF title fight. Holyfield, 47, in a white pancho-type robe looks in tremendous condition.
42-year-old Botha, aka “The White Buffalo” enters the ring wearing a black robe, to Bob Marley’s “Buffalo Soldier.” His record is 47-4-3 (28 KO’s). Four-time heavyweight champ Holyfield, gets a huge ovation, is 42-10-2 (27 KO’s).
Round one: Confident and smiling during intros, Botha looks chubby at 250 and 6-ft, 2 in. but is surprisingly quick-fisted, landing some overhand sharp rights to head and body of Holy. .
Botha 10-9. Botha looking like he could make good on his promise to “retire” Holyfield.
Round two: Holy, with “Warrior” emblazoned on his trunks, attacks to start round two, also shows quickness. This is a good fight. Holy rocked and staggers to corner from a right to the body, but he recovers quickly. Botha grunts when he punches, the way Marvis Frazier used to. Holyfield scores with a nice right to the head. Botha 10-9, he’s a little more active and effective.
Round three: Al Bernstein: ‘Botha’s strategy is simple – throw punches and tie him up. Throw punches and tie him up.” Holy looks and moves very well but his activity is slow-paced. Botha 10-9. Botha standing between rounds.
Round four: Botha thowing 1-2s, left rights, then holding. Holy not getting off and when he does, missing – but not by much. His left hook looks formidable, if he can land it clean. Holy looks surprisingly good and very competitive. Even round.
Round five: Botha taking charge, with his quicker, sharper punches. “Holy – Field” chants now working. Former Holyfield rival Smokin Bert Cooper is at ringside. Botha 10-9.
Round six: Holy tags Botha with two left hooks and a right to head on ropes, his best work of the night. Botha unhurt though. Botha is more explosive, Holy can’t seem to time Botha. But then he does, landing his best rights of the night. Holyfield raising his game now, he’s finding the range.. Holy’s round 10-9. Botha still not using a stool between rounds.
Round seven: Holyfield landing more now, fight is getting better too. It’s up for grabs. Botha could be fading. His offense is quick but predictable. Holy 10-9.
Round eight: Botha down from a right! And he is hurt. Holy attacks and ref stops it (seems too quickly). But no argument from the Newport Beach based South African. Sudden, shocking ending. Good fight and very good win for Evander Holyfield. KO at :55 of round eight, and new WBF champ, the one and only, living legend, ultimate warrior! EVANDER HOLYFIELD!