Evander Holyfield: "I will make history on December 20!"

By G. Leon


Evander Holyfield: "I will make history on December 20!"

GL: What can we expect to see from you against Nikolay Valuev on December 20? "I'll be ready. I will be ready and knowing that God never gives you more than you can handle, I know I can handle it."

GL: What do you know about Valuev as a fighter? How will you handle his physical advantages?

Evander Holyfield: "I don't feel that he really has a size advantage. Every advantage he has I will make a disadvantage. He needs to know his hit distance real well, I know mine really well and I know how make everything counteract and work against him. I'm smaller, I can take smaller steps and move better. I have to use everything I have to make him feel he's at a disadvantage. I can't get into a range where only he can hit. I need to get into my range and work from there. That's pretty much how everybody fights, in a range to their advantage.

"He probably won't swing much, but he's going to throw big shots. I need to get into a range where I can get mine off and not allow him to throw his big shots."

GL: A victory in this fight would make you the oldest heavyweight champion of all time. Is that your biggest motivation going into this fight?

EH: "It just happened to be a there where if I do this I will be the oldest. But that's not the motivation. Winning is what I do. I don't ever go out there not to win. It's not like I said, let me wait till I get older than George before I go out there and do it. It's unfortunate that last year I didn't get the decision against Ibragimov. But I didn't and that's all there is to it. When you look at my career and you think about it, Evander Holyfield has been trying to become undisputed heavyweight champion of the world for a long time. The closest I came was in 1999. If I would have gotten that decision over Lennox Lewis in Vegas, I wouldn't be boxing no more. I didn't have it in my mind that I wanted to win the title more times than anybody or be the oldest. These are things that you don't shoot at, but through circumstances, they happen. It's all been driven by goals and all I've been trying to do is become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world over time. I have won one of the belts, and that allowed to be four time heavyweight champion of the world. It's unfortunate that I want to become heavyweight champion of the world one more time so I can sit down as undisputed and know I did it right. When I was there I was the guy, and it's not opinion, it's undisputed. Not so much you take my word, everybody who claims a third or a fourth of the belt. Why argue when you can be undisputed?"

GL: We've been talking for years and it's always been about boxing, but with the recent developments pertaining to your financial woes, I must ask if money is motivating you more than ever?

EH: "I think that people always want to throw up something to say this is the reason that he's doing this. All this time I've been trying to accomplish my goals, there wasn't a pinch in the money and nobody said nothing. People are struggling and of course I'm not making as much money as I used to, but it's not about money. I'm not fighting because of money. WHen I'm fighting I do want to get paid, but it's not about that. Everybody always wants to derail my thinking, I can't be doing this because I've set my goal. I'm trying to figure out why everybody thinks it's about money now that I'm forty-something. It's not about money, but if you're working you might as well get paid. It has been the toughest time in my life trying to do this and it takes a stronger will than when I was in my 20's and my 30's. It's a lot tougher doing this in your 40's. It's more confidence, more faith, more praying and more everything to believe you can achieve something like this. But it's not about money for me to do something like this."

GL: So you're viewing Valuev as nothing more than phase one of the road to unification?

EH: "Yeah."

GL: If things do go your way against Valuev, will you call it a career?

EH: "I don't think that way. It would be impossible for me to have gotten this far thinking that way. I'll have all the time to think that after the fight if things don't go my way. I don't make things more complex than they are, I just take it one day at a time. Let me do the work first and think about what I'm going to do next after the work is done."

GL: Closing thoughts?

EH: "I don't know when the fight will be on the tube, but check me out I will make history."


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