Holyfield to fight in Ethiopia for AIDS charity

Wed May 20, 2009 4:48am EDT
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By Barry Malone

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters Life!) - Boxing icon Evander Holyfield will fight in desperately poor Ethiopia for an undisclosed fee in a bout to raise money for HIV/AIDS charities.

Organizers hope the clash in July between the four-time world heavyweight champion and little-known local pugilist Sammy Retta will bring in between $5 million and $10 million.

"I continue to strive to be the very best but what got me to come here is the AIDS," Holyfield, wearing a green safari suit, told reporters in Addis Ababa late on Tuesday.

"If we don't find a cure to this, we'll be extinct."

Everton Boland, chief executive of promoters Golden Globe, said a substantial percentage of the money raised would go to charity, but he declined to discuss the fighters' purses.

"If you want to talk about money, we ain't up to that part yet," Boland said. "Ain't no boxer fighting for free."

Organizers said a group set up by 22 African First Ladies to fight HIV/AIDS is the only charity chosen so far to receive funds from the fight, but that they are considering others.

Holyfield's manager Ken Sanders said the 46-year-old, who some in the sport have argued is too old to still be fighting, plans to have another world title fight in September, possibly against WBA champion Nikolai Valuev.   Continued...

<p>Four-time Heavy Weight World Champion Evander Holyfield of the U.S. poses for a photo after a news conference in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, May 19, 2009. REUTERS/Irada Humbatova</p>