However, the heart condition that would force him into retirement was already making itself felt by limiting his training. "But I believed that when I got into the ring, the lire would be there and I would pull it off that day," says Holyfield.
Yet from the first round against Moorer, he felt a crushing fatigue. "I prayed just to get through, just to finish," he says. Even alter flooring Moorer with a crisp combination in the second round, he couldn't follow up. "Usually, when you got somebody hurt like that, you go on and whup him like you're chopping down a big tree," says Holyfield. "I just didn't have the strength."
The heart ailment is a noncompliant or "stiff" left ventricle, which means that while Holyfield's heart contracts properly, it does not relax and fill as it should. The result is fatigue, particularly during heavy exercise. The cause of the condition remains unknown. A further test revealed what doctors termed "a tiny hole" in Holyfield's heart, a congenital defect and one that is unrelated to the stiff ventricle. Holyfield's physician, Ron Stephens, says that neither condition is life-threatening and that neither requires surgery or medication at this time. But Stephens also insists that Holyfield will never box again.
Holyfield, who made more than $100 million lighting, says he will spend more time with his four children. As for how he will be remembered, he has a simple request: "People always say, 'Good guys finish last.' I'd like to think I proved that wrong."
A Falling King
A year ago Bruce McNall seemed to be a man at the top of his game. He owned the NHL Los Angeles Kings and the CFL Toronto Argonauts and headed one of the most profitable coin dealerships in the world. He was a successful Hollywood producer and a partner in a winning racehorse stable.
Now, however, his empire, estimated at $150 million in 1993, is crumbling. The most recent sign of trouble came last week, when McNall resigned as chairman of the NHL's Board of Governors. He cited personal reasons, but the resignation followed the news that he was being investigated by a federal grand jury for allegedly falsifying loan documents. And that was not the first time his name had surfaced in court. In late March the Republic Bank in Torrance, Calif., won a $2.1 million judgment against McNall for nonpayment of a loan, and the same month the European American Bank sued him in New York City for allegedly defaulting on a $28.3 million loan. (The outcome is pending; McNall has said that the suit is without merit.) Two partners in his stamp and coin business took him to court for allegedly misusing company money, a case that was later settled. Finally, he was accused by an aircraft repair company, a movie studio and a real estate firm of not paying his bills.
McNall, 44, who would not elaborate beyond a prepared statement about his resignation, in the past has denied having financial difficulties, but those claims are growing increasingly weak. The Argonauts are losing money. The Kings didn't make the playoffs this year, which robs McNall of much-needed postseason revenue, and regular-season attendance at L.A. games was off. Says Michael Megna, an independent franchise appraiser, "I valued the Kings at $75 million last fall, but today I'd put them at about $60 million. The NHL doesn't have a big TV contract, and teams need strong attendance to make a buck."
As of Monday, McNall's plan to sell 65% of the Kings to a pair of California businessmen was still on hold as a result of the grand jury investigation. The deal was expected to go through, but if it doesn't, the franchise could be in trouble. The Los Angeles Times has reported that one of McNall's prospective partners has already paid $4 million to help cover the Kings' payroll. Further, that same person is said to have paid for the $275,000 Rolls-Royce that McNall gave Wayne Gretzky when Gretzky broke Gordie Howe's career-scoring record in April. McNall would have to cover those expenses if the deal is disallowed. Further complicating the situation is an estimated $17 million in long-term deferred payments that are outstanding on current King contracts.
McNall has long been fascinated by the life and times of the ancient Romans, so he knows that empires rise and fall. Perhaps that knowledge will help him prepare for the fate that seems to await him.