Boxing Hall of Famer, Evander Holyfield, had a glittering career stacked with iconic moments and this week he has been reflecting on it all.
Holyfield won the undisputed championship in two weight classes – first, he was the cruiserweight king in the late 1980s, then went on to heavyweight honours in the early 1990s. He had famous wins against Mike Tyson, George Foreman and Larry Holmes, and a controversial split draw with Lennox Lewis.
Appearing at the Cow Palace in San Francisco for his son Evan Holyfield’s fight at the Boxing Night of Champions, he is asked by Behind The Gloves about the most rewarding and best part of his career. ‘The Real Deal’ named representing America at the Olympics in 1984 as his best moment – he went on to win a bronze medal at light-heavyweight and turned professional the following year.
“I would say the Olympics. Going to the Olympics, you know.
I remember in 1976 I seen Sugar Ray Leonard, but I seen Leon Spinks and Michael Spinks because they from the ghetto, and I was from the ghetto. Cause everybody would tell me you ain’t never going to be anything because you’re from the ghetto. Since Michael Spinks and Leon Spinks were from the ghetto and they own gold medals I was like I can do it too. I got to do it.”
He is then asked how he managed to get to the top.
“I came up, I was brought up with Christ. You pray, you ask Jesus, you talk to Jesus, you have to listen to your parents. I got it from my mom. My mom wanted me to be better. The things she told me, you know, you do what your friends tell you to do again, you’re gunna get it, so my mum told me what to do and I don’t do the things my friends told me to do, they’re not right all the time.”
Lastly, he is asked for some motivational words.
“My message is you listen, follow direction, don’t quit. With things like that you always gunna be successful. Parents should want their kids to be better than them. I became who I was because of my mom. I had to ask my mom everything. My mom pointed me in the proper direction.”
Wise words indeed from one of the greatest to ever do it.