Evander’s Story

“In the end it will be about who I helped.”

“Boxing brought me to Broward just like boxing brought me to many things in my life. I have a home in Davie but I’m gone so much from it that I can’t really call it my home. I haven’t gotten to know the places in Broward yet. I came here a couple of years ago for a heavyweight champions reunion at the Hard Rock. During my stay, Kris Lawrence from the Heavyweight Factory asked me to move here and get involved with his boxing gym. I help promote events and mentor young boxers. God made me a icon when it comes to boxing and mostly all I have to do is show up and the people come.

I am committed to inspiring people and I know I can influence them. It’s a gift I have always had that my mother helped me refine.

Every week I fly back to Atlanta to see my family and go to church. I have a childhood friend who might move to Broward and if he does, then I will get better acquainted here.

Right now I am involved in a new pilot television show hosted by former New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez. The show pairs former athletes and their business ventures with a team of money-savvy mentors who will re-launch them in the business world. I just returned here from New York City where we are recording that show.

At age 56, I am still dedicated to working out eating right. Baby boomers ask me what I think is the most important thing about aging and staying in shape. I tell them flexibility is everything. People ask me if I have physical problems from being hit so much. I don’t. I feel great. I do the right thing, I use the gym a lot, I eat right. It’s important for me to be healthy and not be a burden to my kids or anyone else. My wise mom always believed that too, one of the many things that I learned from her.

I have made millions of dollars, lost millions of dollars, experienced life’s ultimate highs and endured some pretty bad lows. I have learned from both and I suppose that’s why people relate to me. I have the same issues that everyone has but my issues seem bigger because I have more visibility. From every low I had, I bounced back because I had God. God is how you come back.

I grew up outside of Atlanta, the youngest of nine kids. There was not a lot of money to go around for activities, and from age six to 21 I spent a lot of time at a local Atlanta Boys Club. The club gave me direction and I grew confident. Because of that club, I was motivated to earn perfect attendance at school so that I could go on the trips to Disney World and Six Flags, places I could never have afforded otherwise.

The Boys Club is where I learned to box. I had a place to channel my strength and aggressiveness. The coach there could also see that I was focused. He told me that some day I was going to be the heavyweight champion of the world.

I never forgot those words.

I learned every detail there was to know about boxing. I loved the sport and love is really the primary element you need in everything you want to do well. I was a good athlete in other sports, too, but I always boxed. If my opponent was declared the winner, I learned that did not mean I was the loser. If I had given up boxing because I lost, then I would be the loser. I never gave up. Ever.

Later in life when I was able, I gave the Boys Club $1.2 million. It was very clear to me that I would not have become who I am without them.

Look, I have done some cool things. I have been in 57 professional fights, I carried the Olympic torch in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. I know President Clinton. I am the four-time heavyweight champion of the world. I have been called one of the greatest boxers of all time. Still, the most exhilarating memory for me is of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. I was the last person to make the Olympic boxing team so many people did not know me. During my initial fight with Kevin Barry, people were cheering for me as the American. The crowd was going crazy for me when I was introduced. I had everyone in that arena on my side. I knocked him out in the third round.

I am friends with people I have fought. I have known Mike Tyson since I was 17. I am a few years older than he is. Riddick Bowe is my friend too. In the ring these guys and I would hit each other, that is what boxers do. I had a job to do and I had to focus on that job. I was always a professional and never lost my cool. Sure, I jumped when Tyson bit my ear. In fact, I was going to bite his too but I had to stay focused. Yes, that bite hurt. Tyson did that to break my path, divert my rhythm. I never showed pain; a boxer never shows pain. But don’t confuse that with weakness. I forgave Tyson for two reasons: forgiveness is part of being a Christian and Tyson is my friend.

People always recognize me. I love to mess with them too. A woman approached me in the airport and said, ‘Are you Evander Holyfield?’ I looked at her and said, ‘People ask me that all the time because I look like him. But look! I have two ears! Evander got one of his bit off! I couldn’t be him!’ Then we both laughed.

At the end it will not be about how many fights I won or what late night talk shows I was a guest on. It won’t be about being an undisputed champion or how much money I made. It won’t be about how many times I have been honored or interviewed or danced with. It will be about who did I help with their life.”

Evander’s Cause

“I do some volunteer work with Starkey Hearing Aids. We help people all over the world who cannot afford hearing aids. Because of these hearing aids, people are able to hear for the very first time in their lives.”

One thought on “Evander Holyfield: God Made Me a Boxer

  • Dr. Monica PedemonteMay 10, 2019 at 1:32 pm

    I find his conclusion inspirational…at the end its about who did I help.

    Reply

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