Murad: Holyfield still #1 draw!
By Karl Freitag
"He is still the number one draw in the heavyweight division," says promoter Murad Muhammad. And if four-time former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield looks good beating Fres Oquendo on Friday night's pay-per-view clash in San Antonio, Muhammad believes Evander shouldn't have a problem securing a title shot because he brings something no other heavyweight has. "He's the drawing card," says Murad. "He has the ability to upgrade these fighters to make that kind of money that is unbelievable!"
"It's money that will bring these champions to us and we believe the WBC, WBA and IBF champions will come to us and we will pay them significant money to try to prove that Evander Holyfield is not the real deal. We're saying he's not the Black Hope, he's not the White Hope, he's the hope of America. The only hope we've got to bring belts back to the shoulders of North America and that's my humble opinion."
There may be some substance to what Muhammad is preaching. Holyfield drew 8000+ and a national TV television audience last August to see him beat up an overmatched Jeremy Bates in Dallas.
Defeating two-time world title challenger Oquendo, who is currently rated #13 by the WBO, would be a significant win and could put Holyfield right back in the mix. "Fighters come into this industry for three reasons," says Murad. "That is to fight for the belt, to make money, and to make more money....we're willing to pay these atheletes unbelievable money. If you want to take a clean deal to get paid temendously we want to give you an opportunity to not only make money but to prove it to the world that Evander Holyfield is dreaming."
The 44-year-old Holyfield, steadfastly insists he's going to pursue his dream of becoming undisputed heavyweight champion until he's successful, no matter how long it takes. He expects to attain his goal in 2008. He proclaims he's feeling great after nearly two years out of the ring, time which allowed some injuries to heal that he says hindered his performance in the ring.
Interestingly, Holyfield said he is not targeting the WBO belt. "The WBA, IBF and WBC are the three ones that I'm looking forward to getting," Evander told Fightnews. "If I had a little bit more energy, I would think about WBO. But I truly believe if I get those three titles, that's undisputed. If I choose to get the other one out of ego, and then I'm going to get it because I just want to but it's not considered part of the unification."
Of course, Oquendo plans on turns Holyfield's title dream into a nightmare. "I trained especially hard for this fight," he said, "and I've been away from my family and from my loved ones and it's very hard for me to be away from my kids. Therefore Friday is going to be history for me."
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