EVANDER HOLYFIELD has learned lessons from past mistakes made outside the ring.
The two-weight champ enjoyed a stellar career, earning upwards of £200million as he became undisputed champion of the cruiserweight and heavyweight boxing divisions.
Although when Holyfield returns to the ring for a series of charity bouts, having announced his sensational comeback, it won’t be as the wealthy man he once was.
A number of bad investments and regrettable choices left Holyfield stripped of his former affluence – and even kicked out of his home.
In March 1999, the 36-year-old Holyfield drew a fierce contest with Lennox Lewis – consolidating his IBF and WBA heavyweight titles sensationally picked up from Mike Tyson and Michael Moorer respectively.
But before the turn of the millennium, certain things went against the American.
In the November of 1999, Lewis defeated him in Las Vegas – grabbing his belts in the process.
Perhaps even more significantly in the long run, however, it was also that year in which he set up “Real Deal Records” – his own record label which has since fallen by the wayside – and represents just one of his ill-advised business ventures.
The demise of the company cost Holyfield £2.3m – and wasn’t the only costly investment.
Holyfield’s brand, at one time, featured his name on items such as kitchen grills, fire extinguishers and even barbeque sauce – but to no avail.
Surround yourself with greatness. 💯 @klitschko #TEAMHOLYFIELD
A botched restaurant business also cost Holyfield in the region of £7.6m.
In 2008, despite still being an active fighter competing for heavyweight titles – the 45-year-old Holyfield was evicted from his 109-room Atlanta mansion – as he owed over £10m in mortgage payments.
The property was eventually sold to rapper Rick Ross for a knockdown £5.7m.
Holyfield, 57, is the father of 11 children from six different women, all of whom he responsibly pays child support for.
The boxing legend has also been through three divorces – most recently from Candi Calvana Smith in 2012.
Baseball legend turned financial expert Alex Rodriguez believes that those around Holyfield, who now lives in a two-bedroom apartment, let him down during his career.
He told CNBC: “He did not have a team to protect his money while he was making millions, and today there is no one in his corner to help him establish his blue-chip brand.
When you don’t have others looking out for you, everybody’s taking something for themself.
“If he had the right team behind him, he would have never lost his fortune.”
And Holyfield himself, who now makes around £75,000-a-month in appearance fees, also had his say on the matter.
He admitted: “It is hard to fall down, and I kind of feel like everything is too late.
“When you don’t have others looking out for you, everybody’s taking something for themselves.
“Man, they were stealing, just stealing, stealing.
“”[I want to] pass this onto my kids, where they won’t have to worry about the same thing.
“I used to be foolish, but I ain’t foolish no more.”
He appears to be staying upbeat these days, however, as he surrounds himself with “excellence” in the gym ahead of his comeback.
The Real Deal has recently posted pictures of himself training with Ukrainian legend Wladimir Klitschko.
And he captioned one image: “Surround yourself with greatness.”