Just getting back from a trip yesterday afternoon, I decided to take time to rest while watching TVC. Flashes of several news making the headlines were highlighted by the news anchor, but I was subtly interested in the one showcasing the pugilist Evander Holyfield donating cash in the amount of three million dollars ($3,000,000) to Lagos State. The money is meant to be used to buy health equipment for health facilities for some of the hospitals in the State. I was bewildered to see a legend like Holyfield come to Lagos State and extend a philanthropic hand to the health sector. This appeared unequivocally as a magnanimous deed, one that should be truly appreciated. Watching on, I saw the great Nigerian ‘Machiavelli’ Tinubu standing beside the Legend while Governor Ambode was also not too far away. At this point, the curious side of me became partly conscious as to what was going on, something wasn’t right and was a little off, but seeing that I needed sleep, I decided to allow the byzantine thought pass.
Waking up this morning, I had a discussion with a friend and talked much about the three million dollars Holyfield donated to Lagos. The math just wasn’t adding up. How will Holyfield who as of April 2017 was valued to have a net worth ranging from five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) to one million dollars ($1,000,000) make a three million dollar donation to Lagos State, Lagos o. His net worth is one million dollars at its best, and that is not even liquid cash. Fifteen years back, there won’t even be any need for this write up as the Legend was making a buck load of money. It is estimated that he made about $230 million in his career as a boxer. He had several endorsements and money was flowing in a quotidian manner. He even purchased a mansion that spanned about 230 acres and had 109 rooms in it. The mansion was being serviced and maintained with a whopping $1 million every year. He was ‘celebrity-wise’ rich back then and could afford to donate as much as he wanted, but in today’s reality, Holyfield cannot afford to donate $3 million. Logically, the man doesn’t even have that amount of liquid cash with him.
That Holyfield is broke isn’t news, it is a trite statement people in the United States are used to. This was the same man that was being threatened of imprisonment if he failed to pay his child’s support, an amount equivalent to $300,000. Baba simply couldn’t afford it. He also failed to pay $6,000 as child support for his 10 years old son. His mansion was auctioned off when he couldn’t pay for it again as he was in severe debt crisis. The Pugilist also failed to pay an amount of $550,000 for services rendered for a landscaping job done for him in Utah. When it got worse for him, he decided to sell off 20 pairs of his fight gloves, his Olympic bronze medal, championship rings, about 20 math robes and short, including his victory belts. This is all just to say that ‘Baba is broke’ (babu kudi). So, what is the true story behind his donation to Lagos State?