Evander Holyfield: "It's not over"

By Brad Cooney


Evander Holyfield: "It's not over"

Boxing Legend Answers The Tough Question

Boxingtalk sat down with former world cruiserweight and heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield to get his thoughts on his failed bid for the WBO heavyeight championship against Sultan Ibragimov.  Holyfield said on international television that he's still not finished with boxing and he says it again here on Boxingtalk. He wants to get back into the ring in early 2008.

BT – Evander thank you for joining Boxingtalk.
EH – Thank you

BT – You came up short against WBO heavyweight champion, Sultan Ibragimov.  Give us your thoughts on your performance.
EH – Well I think the fight was closer than what the judges said it was.  I was aggressive, and I fought.  I don't feel the scores were accurate, but I can see why the judges gave the fight to him, he was a good fighter.

BT – It appeared to me that when you were able to get your punches off, you were somewhat effective.  Do you feel that it was his speed and movement that gave you the most trouble?
EH – Well he's a little bit more craftier than he looks.  He's a disciplined fighter, he listens to his corner very good.  He's not the type of fighter that would have given me any problems, he's a left hander, and he had more movement that any left hander that I have ever fought. That's  Including Chris Byrd, and Michael Moorer.  Chris Byrd moved, but not as much as Sultan did. Michael Moorer was a stay-still fighter, didn't move.

BT – What was it that he did that most surprised you?
EH – Well the fights that I have seen him in, he was more aggressive.  He was known for his power, and being aggressive, but when he fought me he didn't fight aggressive, he moved a lot.  He gave me different angles, but I was able to catch him with a few.  We both had our game plan, so we did what we did.  I should have been more busy, but at the time I felt that I was doing the things to be able to put myself into a position to counter him, and get him out.

BT – It looked like he respected your power, and chose not to bang with you, rather to box you.
EH – Well boxing is a smart man's fight.  It's not a foolish man's fight, so you have to fight the style that will allow you to win.  When I watched the tape, I realize that I wasn't aggressive than I should have been.  With that said, I still don't feel that he did that much more than me.

BT – You said that you're not done yet, so what's next?
EH – Well, right now I am in limbo to the point where I am just waiting to put myself into a position to fight for a title again.  I am just waiting to see who will be interested in fighting me.

BT – Why do you still want to go on?  Is it because you want that fifth title?  Is it because you just have boxing in your blood, and can't give it up? Tell the fans exactly why you want to keep going.
EH – Well for one I set the goal back in 1992 to be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. I was able to beat Riddick Bowe, but one of the belts got away. Lennox Lewis had the other belt at that time.  I fought Michael Moorer, and he beat me witch made me start over again.  It took until 1996 to beat Tyson, than I had to beat Michael Moorer, than I had to fight Lennox Lewis. Then I was back in line again, I won the WBA, then I lost it the following year.  My goal is to be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.  I lost a close decision to Ibragimov, it's not so much a loss, but it's a setback.  I truly believe that I can make the proper adjustments, and win it.

BT – Evander, at what point do you say to yourself, maybe that goal is not achievable. What would it take for you to say, you know what? Maybe it's just not going to happen.
EH – It's not for me to even think that way.  If I am willing to train, and make the adjustments, I mean I know that time is running down, but it hasn't ran out.  Sometimes it's hard for people to think that way, but I remind them that I came up in a poor family, a family of 9.  I was raised to go out there and give it your all.  I got out of the ghetto, I was able to make it through High School.  I am the only man in the heavyweight division to hold the title 4 times.  If you don't quit, and work hard, and make adjustments, anything is possible.  I often tell people that you only lose when you quit.  I tell people that I never lost, I just had setbacks.  My mother taught me not to quit, just make adjustments.  I look at this boxing game the same way.  People watch football, basketball, and when they have setbacks, they still can win championships. Why is it with the individual sports when you don't win, they say, 'you lost'  You make adjustment, It's not over until you hang up the
 game.  When you hang up the game, then you know where you stand.  Time is ticking on me, so I have to be a little bit more careful.  I will make the adjustments necessary.

BT – Big Roy Jones, Sr. told me one time that fighters like you have to detox off of the sport, like a drug.  Is that a fair assessment in your case?
EH – Not for me, I am just goal driven.  I believe in The Lord Jesus Christ, and God doesn't start something that he doesn't finish.  As I became successful, I didn't win them all. My mother taught me at 11 years old not to quit.  I lost a fight when I was 11 and I wanted to quit, I wanted to throw boxing into the tank.  The next year I beat the same kid when I was 12 years old and my mother told me that I didn't have to fight anymore.  I said to her,  'I thought you said not to quit.'  She said, 'no I just don't want you to quit just because things don't go your way.'  So I learned at 12 years old that this happens to everybody.  This happens to everybody, and at some point in time all of those who are successful better believe that they had to overcome something to become who they are.  Here I am, the only guy to be the undisputed cruiserweight champ, and the only 4 time heavyweight champion.  I still haven't achieved the goal that I want to achieve and that's to be the undisputed heavyweight champion again.

BT – In order to do that, unless someone unifies a title you would have to beat guys like Ibragimov, Klitschko, Sam Peter.... so with that said, what's the plan?  When do you want to get back in there?
EH – Well I would like to get back in there during the first quarter of 2008.  Hopefully I won't have to fight all four of those guys (laughing).  These things are part of life, it's what makes you who you are.   You are made by the people who you have fought, my greatness has been built around the people that I have fought.  I fought all the top fighters, and now when they ask Sultan who he has fought, he can say, 'I beat Evander Holyfield.' I remember fighting George Foreman, he was 42 and I was 29.  They just happened to be there, they may not have been in there prime, but I fought them. People judge Tyson on what he did, and Moorer on what he did, and Foreman on what he did.

BT – Evander, do you have any closing thoughts?
EH – It's not over until God says it's over.


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