Normally, I wouldn’t bother starting a discussion about this. We all know the drill: Great once, made a bunch of horrible decisions, lost his skills, too old, only still in it because of debt, etc. Been there, done that, bought the CD.
Let’s be clear about one thing: He is in serious trouble. His debt (which reportedly increased after his loss to Danny Williams) is around $40 million. At 38 years of age, he’s rapidly running out of time. If he doesn’t strike it rich, and fast, he’ll almost certainly be impoverished for life.
But here’s the kicker. He still thinks he can win the championship. He thinks he can reclaim the glory, pay his debts, and walk away with his head held high. And there are people who believe he can do it and are willing to pay to see him try.
So, how close is he going to get? Is his upcoming fight, whoever it’s against, his last stand?
Some tentative predictions:
He’s knocked out in the early rounds - Stick a fork in him. Two clobberings in as many fights (and this after a one-sided drubbing from Lennox Lewis) would utterly kill what little drawing power he has left, assuming that his morale could survive such humiliation.
He’s knocked out late or loses an easy decision - A few sparks left, maybe one more token fight against some palooka, but the dream is still effectively over.
He loses a controversial decision or draws - He might get a rematch or a fight against an equal opponent, with similar results. Will help his debt situation, but only marginally.
He wins - He moves on to a real contender (who’ll demolish him) or continues feeding on beatable opponents and small paychecks. Either way, it’s just delaying the inevitable.
Just can’t see a happy ending here. I’d say the second scenario is the most likely. (He actually got a little unlucky against Williams, but there was still no chance of him winning after the first round.)