There's something missing as Evander Holyfield prepares for his first fight since his two showdown bouts with Mike Tyson. And it's not just part of his ear.
Forget that Saturday night's fight with Michael Moorer will unify two parts of the heavyweight title. Forget that Holyfield is seeking revenge against one of the two fighters ever to beat him.
Holyfield and Moorer simply have a tough act to follow in the wake of two of the biggest heavyweight title fights of all time.
"It makes this fight seem dead a little," Holyfield said.
With the volatile and fearsome Tyson replaced with the introspective and cautious Moorer, it has been left mainly up to Holyfield to carry the promotion for the fight that will unify the WBA and IBF heavyweight titles.
Though he's being paid well to do so _ $20-million for the scheduled 12-round fight _ even Holyfield has seemed to have trouble trying to raise this fight to the level of his two bouts with Tyson.
At Wednesday's final prefight news conference, Holyfield left it up to his attorney, Jim Thomas, to try to add some excitement to the fight.
"This is the kind of fight all of you say we need in boxing," Thomas said. "For once, all the action will be inside the ring."
Showtime executive Jay Larkin, whose company is televising the fight via pay-per-view, took to chastising the media for not taking the fight as seriously as Holyfield's fights with Tyson.
"What we don't have is a car crash and because we don't have a car crash, reporters come up to me and ask what's wrong with this fight," Larkin said.
The stakes are still big for Holyfield and Moorer, but the absence of Tyson and his entourage has quieted the buzz normally associated with a big heavyweight fight.
"The difference in this fight is there won't be the tension on fight night that there was before," said Marc Ratner, executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission. "It will be a different atmosphere."
About the only tension present at the news conference was when Moorer's manager, John Davimos, changed Holyfield's grin to a scowl when he complained about Holyfield making excuses for his April 22, 1994, loss to Moorer that cost him the WBA and IBF titles.