The Reason Evander Holyfield Lost His Money

Evander Holyfield is one of the greats of the boxing world. He was a champion whose professional career endured from 1984 until his final fight against Sherman Williams in 2011, when Holyfield was 48 years old. He enjoyed a 27-year run of glory that ended with a final record of 44-10-2, according to BoxRec. The Real Deal took home a bronze medal from the 1984 Olympic Games, won his first junior heavyweight title in '86, and became the undisputed cruiserweight champion in '88. From there, Holyfield would go on to hold the heavyweight world title four times, and, more notably, have a chunk of his ear bitten off live at MGM Grand Garden Arena by Mike Tyson in 1997.

Throughout his career, Holyfield made bank, but that's what you'd expect from a fighter of his caliber. In the famed ear-damaging fight against Tyson alone, Holyfield brought home a massive $35 million, according to Atlanta Magazine, which is several times more than most Americans will make in their lifetime. BBC estimates the Holyfield made nearly a quarter of a billion dollars over the course of his boxing career. For a long time, Evander Holyfield, four time heavyweight champ, had the funds to live a lavish lifestyle. That's what a tough chin and hard hands will get you. But there came a point when this former International Boxing Hall of Famer was losing more money than his fists could bring in.

Big hitter, big spender

The first thing to know about having a lot of money is there's a lot more money to spend, and former champion Evander Holyfield did a lot of spending. He bought a mansion with 109 rooms, complete with a 135-seat home theater, a bowling alley, and a dining room meant for over 100 people. The home was said by Daily Mail to cost Holyfield a solid $1 million per year, and that's just in taxes and upkeep. Holyfield sold the mansion to a bank during a public auction for over $7 million, but the boxer had owed at least $14 million on the mortgage at one point, according to the Independent. Even recouping proved to be a financial loss.

His spending habits extended beyond simple overspending and into the high-adrenaline world of risk-taking thrills. Holyfield lost money on failed business ventures and, as the Independent reported in 2012, by blowing it at every casino in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. The Boxing Tribune says he dropped most of his cash betting on a variety of different sports. Football, basketball, boxing, it didn't matter. The publication likewise says he wasn't very good at the whole gambling thing, and Holyfield went bankrupt. In the former heavyweight champ's case, the risk outweighed the rewards by a large margin.

Families can get expensive

Other financial losses came from Evander Holyfield's home life. Basically, the boxer had more kids and ex-wives than he could reasonably afford. More families mean more money, and Holyfield has several families. In total, Holyfield married three women and was divorced twice. The divorces were certainly costly, but not nearly as expensive as his obligations to his children.

The child support is really where the boxer's family debt began to get out of hand. Holyfield has 11 children from five different mothers, according to the Independent. When Holyfield went broke in 2012, he owed about $500,000 in child support. His then-18-year-old daughter sued him for $300,000 of it. The lawsuit was for a mix of back child support and unpaid maintenance. The suit threatened Holyfield with jail time if he didn't pay up.

"Dealing with all the mothers of all my kids — there ain't no winning here, man, no winning at all," Holyfield said in 2012 (found via the Independent). "I've had no money to pay lawyers and had to fight on my own in court and that ain't easy." Surely it wasn't, but it may have been a bit easier had the former champion not blown all his cash on mansions, cars, and gambling. After all, the perils of riches lay mostly in how they're spent.