“Remember -- keep breathing, it’s going to be alright,” Holyfield said on the ESPN/ABC podcast “Capital Games.” “If he trusts me, I can do some things that make him look good. Me -- I can take a punch. I’m good, I’m good. If I get hit, it’s because I want to get hit.”
“I’m a guy you can trust,” Holyfield added. “It won’t be knockout punches.”
Holyfield and Romney are set to square off Friday in Utah to raise money for CharityVision, a nonprofit group that works to restore vision to impoverished people worldwide. The president of the charity is Romney’s son, Josh, who said the idea grew out of a conversation his dad had with Holyfield about a potential fundraising event.
“Somehow the two of them started talking a little smack, and the next thing I know they’re boxing,” he said.
Josh Romney said his father has been training at a gym in Utah, not that that’s helped guarantee a competitive match.
“I’m not real impressed with his jab or uppercut at this point, or his footwork, or basically anything,” he said. “I’m telling him to go all-out to try to get Evander. We kind of have a bet going if he’ll actually ever be able to touch him.”
Holyfield said plenty of boxers have checkered pasts -- and plenty fight despite injuries.
Josh Romney said he’s glad his father is in the charity boxing ring instead of the 2016 ring.
“Evander Holyfield -- that’s one night. I can last one night. But getting punched for the next two years every night by The New York Times is not exactly ideal,” he said.
And Holyfield said he’s glad Romney is coming to his turf, not the other way around.
“It’s just like me being in politics -- I wouldn’t have no match. I’m at his mercy.”
Also on the podcast, we checked in with ESPN SportsCenter and boxing anchor Robert Flores, on what boxing has to do to raise its public profile -- and avoid harsh scrutiny going forward.