LOS ANGELES (AP) - A federal judge on Wednesday temporarily blocked the sale of a dozen items from Evander Holyfield's boxing career during an upcoming auction of hundreds of personal items and memorabilia amassed by the former heavyweight champion.
The restricted items include Holyfield's robes from his first fight with Mike Tyson and his Olympic bronze medal. Holyfield had sought to limit the sale of 20 items during an auction on Nov. 30 that is being organized by Julien's Auctions and will still feature several robes and other gear Holyfield wore during his fighting career.
Holyfield faces irreparable harm if the items are sold, U.S. District Court Judge Christina A. Snyder ruled, but the former boxer may have to post a bond to keep the items from being sold as he continues to argue his case that the items should be returned. The exact amount will be determined later.
``If plaintiff is not granted a temporary restraining order, he stands to lose unique and irreparable objects with significant sentimental value to him that were a part of his well-known and highly respected career in boxing,'' Snyder wrote.
Julien's Auction's President and CEO said the court fight with Holyfield is unfortunate but that more than 400 items will still go on sale next month. Among the items are up for sale are gloves that Holyfield wore during a 1997 bout with Tyson in which part of Holyfield's ear was bitten off.
``We are confident that we will ultimately prevail when these frivolous claims are actually decided on the merits, and once we have won, we fully expect and intend to sell these few items in a future auction,'' Julien said in a statement.
``Mr. Holyfield is pleased that the court realized how special these few items are to him and his family and he will be allowed to keep them,'' his attorney Susan Lloyd Harrison said. She said Holyfield was excited about the upcoming auction, but wanted to keep several items so that he may pass them down to his family.
Numerous fight robes and trunks are also slated for sale, as well as Holyfield's 1992 WBA Boxer of the Year award.
Some of the 20 items initially listed for sale were withdrawn but have not been returned to Holyfield, Snyder said.
In court filings, Julien's Auctions has stated that it stands to lose money and its reputation if the disputed items were not cleared for sale. Julien has said he received permission to list the items for sale and Holyfield approved a July press release that listed the disputed items.
Snyder's ruling states Holyfield objected almost immediately when he received the full list of items for sale in September.
Julien said his company has advanced Holyfield hundreds of thousands of dollars in anticipation of the auction's earnings and he said he regrets the dispute has ended up in court.
Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP