Courtesy Ann Romney
May 13, 2015 12:50 PM

Mitt Romney bowed out of the 2016 presidential contest but will be back in the ring on Friday for a more literal slugfest – facing off against boxer Evander Holyfield.

His amused wife, Ann Romney, has all the inside scoop for PEOPLE – starting with the fact that Holyfield’s already planning to take it easy on her husband.

“Evander has told Mitt that Mitt can hit him as hard as he wants,” Ann Romney, 66, says with a chuckle. “I think it will be more of a comedy sketch, actually.”

After all, she points out, Mitt Romney, 68 (former Massachusetts governor and two-time presidential candidate), and Holyfield, 52 (former Olympic medalist and five-time heavyweight champion), are not exactly evenly matched.

“If you’ve ever seen Holyfield train, he is, like, rock-solid. A big guy! Now, Mitt’s gone to a few boxing rings and been coached a little,” Ann Romney says, sharing personal snapshots here to prove it. “But he comes home and shakes his head and goes, ‘Hopeless! Hopeless!’ ”

The May 15 Fight Night is being held in Salt Lake City to benefit the Utah-based Charity Vision, a non-profit that works to cure blindness in poor and developing communities around the globe. Ann Romney says she expects her husband and Holyfield to raise enough money for 40,000 eye surgeries in just that one night – “as many surgeries as we did in all of 2014.”

Her family – including many of her 23 grandchildren – has been involved with Charity Vision for years.

“We’ve been to Peru and India with Charity Vision and our next trip is to Malaysia. We take the grandkids and it’s quite an eye-opener for them to see the poverty and lack of medical care in the third world, in such remote places.”

While Ann Romney does plan to be ringside on Friday, she’s got her own wrestling match, of sorts, ongoing – with her laptop and deadlines for the memoir she’s writing.

Courtesy Ann Romney

“I’ve got to get a first draft – 70,000 words – done by July 1,” she says, “so the anxiety is starting. Like, ‘uh-oh.’ ”

Titled In This Together: My Story, the book will cover her struggle with Multiple Sclerosis and recovery from breast cancer. “It’s overcoming challenge and recognizing, I’m not alone,” she says.

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But she will take time out from her writing to be with her husband on Friday.

Courtesy Ann Romney

“I mean, I’m excited to meet Evander. So, if Mitt gets a few bruises, that’s okay. It’s all in good fun and I seriously hope they raise a good deal of money.”

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