In a dazzling career that lasted almost three decades, Evander Holyfield squared up to the most fearsome boxers of his generation. He defeated the most feared fighter of his generation Iron Mike Tyson twice and won a huge number of titles, accolades and the admiration and respect of his peers and fans during his reign as one of the most successful fighters of modern times.
During his professional career Evander earned as much as $500 million but a combination of financial obligations, bad money management and lavish spending has seen his personal fortune dwindle to a tiny fraction of that during his later years, but how did the big man from Alabama earn that much and exactly how much is he worth today in 2017?
Evander Holyfield Net Worth – $1 Million
How Did Evander Holyfield Make His Money & Wealth?
Evander Holyfield’s Early Life and Career
Evander Holyfield was born in Atmore, Alabama on October 19th 1962 into a big family. He was the youngest of nine, and several years younger than his eight siblings. The Holyfield family moved to Atlanta where he grew up in the tough neighborhood of the Bowen Homes Projects and by the age of seven he had begun boxing, where he soon showed great promise. By thirteen he qualified for the junior Olympics and at fifteen he won the Southeastern Regional Championship. At the age of twenty-one he won silver at the Pan American Games in Venezuela, and one year later he won the National Golden Gloves Championship and the Bronze medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California. Later that year he turned professional with an amateur record behind him of over 160 wins to only 14 losses, with 76 of those wins by way of knockout.
Evander Holyfield’s Professional Career and World Championship Wins
Evander ‘The Real Deal’ Holyfield began his professional career in 1984 as a Light Heavyweight, he notched up a perfect run of four wins at that weight, two of them by knockout before moving up to cruiserweight in 1985. That year his unbeaten record continued, with another four bouts that included three knockouts. In 1986, after three more wins, including a knockout in the third round against former World Cruiserweight contender Chisanda Mutti, Evander got his first big title opportunity. He fought WBA Cruiserweight champion Dwight Muhammad Qawi for the title and won the contest in a closely fought battle that ended after 15 rounds in a tight split decision.
1987 saw Evander defend his WBA title several times and unify the championship with the IBF belt by knocking out IBF champion Ricky Parkey in just three rounds. As the year ended he offered Dwight Qawi an opportunity to retake the championship and this time Evander’s victory was far more convincing, knocking out Qawi in the fourth round.
In 1988 the World Cruiserweight title was completely unified when Holyfield beat WBC champion Carlos De Leon in a TKO in the eighth round at Las Vegas, but having now completely dominated the Cruiserweight division, Evander was ready for a bigger challenge and announced his intention to move up to the Heavyweight division and challenge the unstoppable force that was Mike Tyson.
Evander’s Heavyweight career began with an impressive knockout of James ‘Quick’ Tillis in just five rounds, notably James Tilles had managed to go the distance with Tyson, which was a rare event in any Tyson bout at the time. Evander followed that success up with a seven round knockout of ex heavyweight championship holder Pinklon Thomas, and he moved into 1989 with a thrilling match against another ex-heavyweight champ, Michael Dokes, who he knocked out in ten rounds. Further wins that year, against Adilson Rodrigues and the hard-hitting Alex Stewart both ended with his opponents on their backs staring up at the sky, and the end of the decade saw Evander as the Number one heavyweight contender, a place he had held for almost two years, yet he was still to get his chance to take Tyson on for the title.
Evander Holyfield was due to finally take on Iron Mike Tyson in 1990, but his opportunity to do so was snatched away by one of the biggest shocks in boxing for years, when the virtually unknown 29 year old James ‘Buster’ Douglas beat the undefeated Tyson in Tokyo that year in a bout that sent ripples of disbelief throughout the World. Douglas, who had been a 42-1 underdog at the bookmakers for the Tyson fight took on Evander for his first defense of the title in October that year. The champion strained the scales at 246 pounds whereas Evander was in pristine condition at a rippling 208 pounds. Buster Douglas’s short surprising stint as champion ended after just three rounds, and Evander Holyfield became the undispited Heavyweight Champion of the World, still undeafeted and still yet to meet the fearsome Mike Tyson through the remarkable intervention of James ‘Buster’ Douglas.
Evander’s first defense of his title was against the aging George Foreman, who was 42 years old and weighed over 250 pounds at the time of the bout. Foreman held on for the full twelve rounds but lost by unanimous decision in a one-sided contest that saw him somehow survive several rounds of gruelling punishment from Holyfield. Evander was due to finally face Mike Tyson next, but Tyson was injured in training and pulled out of the fight. The next defense of his title, against Bert Cooper saw Evander knocked down for the first time in his career. He received the mandatory eight count but returned with a vicious series of uppercuts that saw the fight stopped in the seventh round. 1992 saw another old-timer, 42 year old Larry Holmes up as a contender, but he too lost by unanimous decision after a less-than evenly matched competition.
Evander Holyfield Vs Riddick Bowe
November 1992 brought perhaps Evander Holyfield’s most memorable match, and it was also his first defeat, against the younger, stronger and taller Riddick Bowe. In a fight that was lauded as one of the most exciting match-ups of the era, Riddick Bowe eventually defeated the champ by unanimous decision. The bout was named Ring Magazines Fight of the Year but the new champ soon fell foul of WBC rules after legal issues over a proposed match-up with Lennox Lewis. Bowe and Holyfield met again a year after their first contest for the WBA and IBF titles, and this time Holyfield was the victor, winning the match by a majority decision, although the bout may perhaps always be best remembered by the bizarre interruption of a parachustist who unexpectedly dropped into the action in the middle of round seven, which set off a series of ring-side scuffles before the fight continued. The notorious incident later became known as the ‘Fan Man Fight’.
Evander Holyfield Vs Mike Tyson
Evander’s career was interrupted by medical problems in 1994 when he was diagnosed with a heart condition and he subsequently announced his retirement, although he later passed a boxing commission medical exam and returned to the ring in 1995. He finally met Mike Tyson later that year, who was by then the WBC and WBA heavyweight champion, and although Evander was considered the underdog he managed to defeat Tyson by TKO in the eleventh round. In 1997 he met Tyson for a second time where once again a Holyfield fight was dominated by bizarre and unexpected events, this time when Tyson bit a chunk out of Evander’s ear in apparent frustration at being unable to get through Evander’s defenses, the match ended with Tyson disqualified and Holyfield retaining his WBA title belt.
In 1999 Holyfield and Lennox Lewis met twice, the first time the bout ended in a draw, but the rematch saw Lewis winning by unanimous decision. Holyfield attempted to become the first man to win the Heavyweight championship five times but by 2005 New York State had withdrawn his boxing license due to what they saw as his diminishing skills, despite him successfully passing a series of medical examinations.
Evander’s Quest For a Fifth Title Win
Still with his sights set on a fifth title, Evander won a series of impressive bouts during 2006 and 2007, and in 2008 he took on the huge intimidating figure of Russian WBA champ, Nikolai Valuev in Zurich, Switzerland for that elusive fifth belt. Valuev was awarded a majority decision after a fairly unexciting contest but many felt that Holyfield had clearly won the bout. Although still seeking a fifth title and considered a competent opponent for the Klitschko brothers, Holyfield’s opportunity never came, and in 2012 he finally retired for good just before his 50th birthday, declaring that Boxing had been good to him, and that he had achieved everything that he had ever wanted to. Now in 2018 Evendar Holyfield is a boxing advisor to Chinese heavyweight Zhang Zhilei and is helping Rapper Soulja Boy train for his upcoming fight with fellow rapper Chris Brown.
Evander earned in excess of $500 million during his long and successful boxing career, but his legendary lavish spending combined with a series of poor money-management decisions and maintainance payments for his eleven children have seen his personal wealth reduced to just $1 million now in 2018. Although some elements of the press have claimed that Evander is completely broke these days, the popular and likable former heavyweight champion retains a comfortable lifestyle, with his modest wealth supplemented by a number of TV and reality show appearances in recent years. He has had appearances on The Simpsons, minor roles in several movies, including Arthur (2011), and has also appeared at World Wrestling Entertainment events and the UK version of Celebrity Big Brother in 2014. In 2016 he showed that he still has the athletic grace of a lifelong professional athlete with appearances on an Argentinian reality dancing show ‘Bailando’.
Evander Holyfield’s Personal Life & FAQ’s
Is Evander Holyfield Married?
Evander Holyfield has been married three times, but is now separated from his third wife Candi. The former champion has a total of eleven children from six different women, and his son, Elijah has played football at the University of Georgia.
Evander Holyfield’s Salary & Annual Earnings in 2017
Evander founded a record label, Real Deal which was the label behind the female R&B group Exhale, briefly famous in 2008 for ‘Chillin’ in Your Benz’ and he also produced the Real Deal Grill appliance that sold through infomercials, but now in 2018 he supplies the Real Deal range of BBQ sauces and a range of ‘Quitters Can’t Be Winners’ T-Shirts via his Website. His earnings are also boosted by occasional speaking engagements. In February 2017 he joined with the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino, and promoter Sal Musemeci to promote his new Atlantic City based Championship Real Deal boxing series that aims to elevate Atlantic City as a premier location for World class bouts in the future.
Evander Holyfield’s House
Although now in 2018 Evander is not as rich as he once was, during his lavish spending days at the highlight of his career, he lived in Georgia’s largest single-family residence, a 50,000 square foot, 109 room mansion just outside Atlanta that nestled in a luxurious 105 acre estate. Unfortunately in 2008, when his financial situation became less comfortable the mansion was auctioned off for just $7.5 million, a fraction of its true worth.
Charity, Donations and Philanthropy
Evander Holyfield is a committed born-again Christian and has worked in recent years promoting awareness of homelessness in the the United States and in the UK. He worked with homeless charities and fellow former Championship Boxer Ricky Hatton in Manchester, England in 2013 and is keen to give something back to those who like him, had few chances offered to them during their early life.