SALT LAKE CITY – Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and five-time heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield squared off in the ring Friday at a charity fight night event in Salt Lake City.
Romney, 68, and Holyfield, 52, sparred, if you could call it that, for just two short rounds before Romney ran away from the boxer and threw in the towel, giving up a round early in the lighthearted fight that came amid several other fights by professional boxers and an auction.
The two barely threw any punches and largely just danced around, occasionally lightly jabbing each other in the midsection in what was much more of a comedic event than an actual bout.
The black-tie affair raised money for the Utah-based organization CharityVision, which helps doctors in developing countries perform surgeries to restore vision in people with curable blindness.
Romney’s son Josh Romney, who lives in Utah, serves as a volunteer president for CharityVision.
Corporate sponsorships for the event ranged from $25,000 to $250,000. Organizers say they raised at least $1 million.
“He said, ‘You know what? You float like a bee and sting like a butterfly,'” Romney said after the fight.
Attendees just enjoyed the festive atmosphere and the chance to see Romney in the ring.
“Oh, it was great. I was very proud of Mitt,” said Katie Anderson, who attended the event with her husband.
“I was happy it went to the second round,” Devin Anderson said.
Romney, the most-high profile Mormon in America, is hugely popular in the state, where more than 60 percent of the residents are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Beyond his religious connections, the former Massachusetts governor is remembered by many for turning around Salt Lake City’s 2002 Winter Olympics after a bribery scandal.
Romney has recently built a home in the Salt Lake City area and registered as a Utah voter.