Facing financial struggles, boxing champ Evander Holyfield admits he agreed to auction off hundreds of memorabilia items from his collection. But not everything.
There are some things he wants back, and the five-time heavyweight champ is willing to fight the auction house for them, according to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in California. Items like the gloves he wore in the 1996 bout against Mike Tyson and his 1984 Olympic robe are just too personal to give up, he contends.
Holyfield, 50, is seeking to stop the sale of 20 of the 450 items headed to the auction block Nov. 30 by Julien's Auctions, of California. But the auction house contends the boxing champ doesn't have a right to the items anymore, and says it has a contract signed by Holyfield.
Holyfield was approached by auction house in 2010, but declined the offer to auction off his belongings. But Holyfield was forced to leave his Fayette County mansion in a matter of days in July due to foreclosure. And the same month, he agreed to auction off items.
"Holyfield made clear that while he would include in the auction items such as robes, gloves, belts, trunks, training and boxing memorabilia and awards, he did not wish to auction off all of such property and that there would be some items in the categories discussed that would be withheld from sale," the lawsuit states.
Representatives from the auction house arrived in Georgia to collect items during the time Holyfield was moving from the mansion, meaning some the boxer was preoccupied at time his possessions were being selected for auction, the suit states.
"Defendants repeatedly confirmed that Holyfield had the right to identify items they had, which would not be offered for sale," the lawsuit states.
The auction house has removed eight of the 20 items Holyfield says he doesn't want auctioned from its catalog, but none of the items have been returned.
In his formal response to the lawsuit, Darren Julien contends his company has already spent more than $500,000 to prepare for the auction, including $50,000 in an advance to Holyfield. Furthermore, the company contends its representatives never told Holyfield he could have some of his items back.
"Julien's Auctions is not a moving company, it is not a salvage company and it is not a storage company," Julien stated.
Attorneys for Holyfield and Julien's Auctions did not return calls from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution regarding the lawsuit, which seeks a jury trial.
Distributed by MCT Information Services
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