Evander Holyfield's wife claims the former heavyweight world champion hit her after an argument over donations to their church, and she has obtained a temporary protective order against him.
Candi Holyfield, the fighter's third wife, said her 47-year-old husband hit her in the face, the back of the head and her back on the night of February 1.
"He said that I was being disrespectful," 30-year-old Candi Holyfield said in a February 3 court filing. "He started telling me that I needed to start putting God first in my life."
According to court documents, the dispute started during the night and when Holyfield turned on the light and saw his wife's face he apologized.
It was unclear whether the incident resulted in a criminal investigation.
A magistrate judge signed a temporary order on February 3 barring Evander Holyfield from being within 500 yards of his wife and their two children, a 6-year-old boy and 5-year-old girl.
A court hearing is scheduled for February 18.
Candi Holyfield said in the protective order that her husband had struck her before, citing several incidents of physical abuse since 2008.
However, in a statement released Thursday through a publicist, Candi Holyfield praised her husband's character.
"Our current situation should in no way be considered a reflection of his character. I have been with this man for nine years and will be the first to say that he has many qualities and characteristics that I admire and respect," she said.
Evander Holyfield won the heavyweight world title four times and has earned more than 200 million dollars in the ring.
However, the later days of his 26-year career have been dogged by financial woes, including child support issues involving some of his 11 children.
Holyfield has not fought since December 2008, when he lost a title-fight decision to Russian Nikolai Valuev, the fifth defeat in his past nine fights.
A planned fight against South African Francois Botha in Uganda this month was called off.
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