Atlantic City, NJ (BoxingGurus.com) - Chris Byrd (36-2, 20 KO) captured the IBF Heavyweight title by winning an easy 12 round decision over an aging Evander Holyfield (38-6-2, 25 KO) Saturday night at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ on HBO. Byrd used his superior boxing skills and speed to run circles around Holyfield dominating the fight from the opening bell.
"I used my boxing skills and just got around him," said a jubilant Byrd. "I proved tonight I can compete with anyone."
Byrd's southpaw stance and 'defense first' strategy kept Holyfield very frustrated the whole night. Byrd used his unorthodox, "pawing", jab and quick footwork to move around and control the fight keeping his hands extended, not letting Holyfield get many shots off. When Holyfield did fire, he was usually met with an illusive Byrd who would slip under Holyfields desprate hooks. Holyfield was clearly looking to land the one big shot to end the fight, but never managed to find it.
"He was able to keep me off balance with his jab," said a beat Holyfield. "Style make fights and I wasn't able to be aggressive."
The punch stats showed the true one-sidedness of the fight. Byrd landed 252 out of 747 total punches at a 34% clip, while Holyfield landed 102 out of 344 punches at a 30% clip. The jabs were even more one-sided with Byrd landing 154 out of 525 at a 29% clip, while Holyfield only landed 3 out of 37 jabs at a 8% clip.
Tonight, Byrd wanted to prove that he is a true Heavyweight. "I wanted to show the world I can stay in there and trade with these guys." He did just that.
The official judges scorecards were 116-112, 117-111 and 117-111 all for Byrd. BoxingGurus.com had the fight 117-111 for Byrd.
Holyfield did mention after the fight that he hurt his left shoulder at the end of the 1st round, which hindered his ability to throw his jab and try to take control of the fight. (It should be noted that Holyfield's corner began applying ice to his left shoulder early on in the bout.) But even though he was thoroughly beat, Holyfield said he will still continue to try and become the undisputed Heavyweight champion of the world.