SALT LAKE CITY: Former world boxing champion Evander Holyfield used ex-presidential candidate Mitt Romney as a punching bag for two rounds Friday — all in the name of good fun and charity.
The 68-year-old Romney and the 52-year-old Holyfield squared off in the lighthearted spectacle that raised $1 million for Charity Vision, an organization that provides eye-sight operations.
The fight didn’t have the hype of the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao mega showdown earlier this month in Las Vegas or the historical value of the Ali-Frazier “Thrilla in Manila,” but it did reach its goal of raising enough money to enable thousands of blind people to see again.
“Tonight @CharityVision raised $1 million which will help 40,000 people have their sight restored,” Romney tweeted after the fight.
Romney entered the ring wearing a red silk robe and a pair of red boxing trunks after a ring entrance walk to the song “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor, blasted through the loud speakers at the Rail Event Center in Salt Lake.
Romney, who went by the moniker “Stormin’ Mormon,” weighed in the day before at 179 pounds while “The Real Deal” Holyfield had an almost 60 pound advantage.
Romney was joined initially in the ring by his wife, Ann, who has been active with her own charitable activities, including raising funds for multiple sclerosis, a disease which she has lived with for over 15 years.
There was few real blows thrown as the 2012 Republican presidential nominee spent most of his time trying to duck the powder-puff punches coming from Holyfield, who won a bronze medal at the 1984 Olympics before going on to become the world champ in both the cruiserweight and heavyweight divisions.
The former Massachusetts governor Romney’s corner threw in the towel after the second round but not before Holyfield had stumbled to the canvas once earlier in the bout.
“He’s the oldest person I have ever fought,” Holyfield told CNN.
Many people wondered what Romney was doing getting into the ring with Holyfield, who once had a piece of his ear bitten off by “Iron” Mike Tyson. Romney said at times politics can be more cutthroat than boxing.
“The good news is that Evander Holyfield always hits above the belt, and sometimes in politics that isn’t the way things are done,” Romney told CNN.