Commentary

Oldies trying to prove they're still good

Most of the over-40 heavyweights are not planning on going gently into that good fight. Don Steinberg takes a look at who's on the senior circuit and where they're going from here.

Originally Published: August 16, 2007
By Don Steinberg | Special to ESPN.com

Remember that night in June when seven Major League Baseball pitchers age 40 or older were scheduled to start? We call it amazing when pitchers who are that ancient keep going. When boxers 40 and older won't quit, on the other hand, we call it insane -- and we worry for their health.

Still, with heavyweight titles changing hands these days like $10 poker chips, a preponderance of name-brand division fighters in the neighborhood of 40 are still punching, hoping to get another shot. George Foreman showed it was possible. Evander Holyfield, who apparently will fight for another belt at 44, is showing how quickly it can be done.

But not so fast: With all the oldies in action, the World Boxing Council announced this year that it will explore developing special medical exams for boxers over 40. Here are some veteran heavyweights with title fight experience who have passed, or are soon to reach, that milestone.

The Over-40 Boxer Breakdown
Boxer Age Record Debut Career high Career low Last fight What's next?
Riddick Bowe 40 42-1, 1 ND 1989 Beat Evander Holyfield to win undisputed heavyweight title in 1992; met Pope John Paul II in 1993. Lost title to Holyfield 1993 in fight when Fan Man (James Jarrett Miller) landed in the ring; punched repeatedly in testicles by Andrew Golota in two 1996 bouts; while retired, in 1999 Bowe kidnapped his wife and children and later served prison time. April 2005, win over Billy Zumbrun. Four-rounder in Sweden on Sept. 15.
Evander Holyfield 44 42-8-2 1984 Has held multiple heavyweight titles; defeated Mike Tyson twice, in 1996 and 1997. Suspended from boxing in 2005 by New York State Athletic Commission for "diminishing skills." June 2007, win over Lou Savarese (46-6). Facing Sultan Ibragimov in October for WBO heavyweight title.
Ray Mercer 46 34-6-1 1989 Won WBO heavyweight title by beating Tommy Morrison in 1991. Lost mixed martial arts debut, in 2007, to Kimbo Slice. August 2005, KO loss to Shannon Briggs (42-4-1). Fighting in Sweden Sept. 15.
Tommy Morrison 38 47-3-1 1988 Won WBO heavyweight title by beating George Foreman in 1996. Tested positive for HIV and retired from boxing in 1996. February 2007 TKO over John Castle (4-2). Hopes to continue comeback in states where he is medically cleared.
Tony Tubbs 49 47-10, 2 ND 1980 Won WBA heavyweight title by beating Greg Page, in 1985. Lost title to Tim Witherspoon in 1986. November 2006 win over Adam Smith (6-16-1). Seeking fights, despite layoff.
Lou Savarese 41 46-7-0 1989 Won USBA heavyweight title by stopping Buster Mathis Jr., in 1996. Knocked out in first round by Mike Tyson, in 2000. June 2007 loss to Evander Holyfield (41-8-2). May be done after loss to Holyfield; is pursuing acting career and has had small roles in "The Bronx is Burning" and "Rescue Me."
Michael Moorer 39 49-4-1 1988 Won WBA/IBF heavyweight titles by beating Holyfield in 1994. Lost the title to George Foreman, in 1994, and rematch to Holyfield, in 1997. Scored first-round TKO over Rich Boruff (17-0-1), Aug. 16. Comeback will continue, with an eye on nemesis Holyfield.
Bruce Seldon 40 37-6 1988 Won WBA heavyweight title by beating Tony Tucker, in 1995. Knocked out in first round by Mike Tyson, in 1996; rapper Tupac Shakur, who attended the fight, was murdered after postfight scuffle. March 2007 knockout win over Jay Sweetman (7-4). Seeking fights.
Oliver McCall 42 51-8, 2 ND 1985 Won WBC heavyweight title with TKO of Lennox Lewis in 1994; defended with 1995 win over Larry Holmes. Had breakdown in ring during 1997 rematch loss to Lewis. June 2007 decision win over Sinan Samil Sam. Riding 10-fight win streak, seeking to fight WBC champ Oleg Maskaev, whom he beat in 1996.
Andrew Golota 39 39-6-1 1992 Draw with IBF heavyweight champ Chris Byrd in 2004 title fight. Two losses to Bowe on disqualifications in 1996. June 2007 TKO win over Jeremy Bates (21-13-1). Facing Kevin McBride, Madison Square Garden, in October.
Larry Donald 40 42-5-3 1993 Fought Nikolai Valuev for WBA heavyweight title, in 2005, but lost. Took first career loss in 1994, to Riddick Bowe. June 2007 decision loss to Alexander Povetkin. Seeking fights.