Evander Holyfield: What me retire?

By Brad Cooney


Evander Holyfield: What me retire?

"I will be champion again in 2008"

Former multi-division world champion Evander Holyfield sat down with Boxingtalk and updated us on what he's been up to as of late. Holyfield comments on the recent split up between himself and his long time trainer Ronnie Shields, about his detractors, and to those who he feels are purposely scaring potential opponents away from fighting him.  

BT – Evander thanks for joining us here on Boxingtalk, nice to have you back 0n.

EH – Thank you.

BT – What's the latest champ?  What have you been doing with yourself as of late?

EH – I am back in the gym now, and hopefully I will get a fight sometime in the first quarter of 2008.  I just have to get back in line, and sometimes things just don't go the way that you planned. That's life itself.

BT – Trainer Ronnie Shields decided to part ways with you, can you give us your thoughts on that?

EH – Well it's real simple, he feels that I don't have it anymore. He feels that it's best for my health not to be in this situation.  I told him that before I met him that my goals have always been the same.  I told him that I understand how he feels, but these goals are set for myself. but there are no problems.  This is how he feels, and I said, 'OK, cool.'  I didn't set this goal for money, so I am not sure what happened in my last fight where he felt that I didn't have it anymore.  I just live with it, and move on, live on and be happy.

BT – You came up short in your last bid, but it's not like you were beaten down and embarrassed.

EH – That's how I look at it. I said wow, I could have done better, but it's not like I was lethargic and couldn't move.  It's just that I didn't do enough, and he didn't do that much either, but with him being the champion going into the fight, it happened the way it happened.

BT -  Are you looking for a new trainer now?

EH – Not at this point no, but most of all I just need to get myself in good shape to be able to do the things that I need to do. Getting a trainer won't be a hard task because a trainer can't tell me more than what I can do anyway.  It wouldn't be a major thing for me to find a trainer. It's not like someone needs to teach me how to box, all I need is a good strategist, someone that knows boxing.  Angelo Dundee was a good strategist, he didn't make Ali what he was, but he gave him good information.  Some people can train you good, but they can't articulate it.  They get so frustrated in there that they can't tell you what to do (laughs).

BT – Well let me rephrase the question then.  Are you looking for a good strategist, are you open for offers?

EH – (Laughs), I'll just find someone myself because I have too many people calling.  They cost all of this money just to come and see you.  I realized that I have stuck my foot in my mouth a lot of time (laughs).  Larry Holmes told me one time about Don Turner. He told me Don Turner don't know nothing about boxing, but he is cool, calm, and collected, and it's the little things that he says, that's why I have him.  It took me a long time to realize what Larry meant by that.  In other words the guy can tell you the right thing to do, but he can't teach it (laughs).

BT – You are going to have to get to the back of the line again.  How long do you think it will take to get a title shot again?

EH – Well there are a lot of people out there that are trying to stop my progress. If I just lay it all on the line, I will set up my defense myself.  There are people telling others not to support me, they are telling people that I will get hurt.  I know my age, but I am the only guy to ever do what I have done.  George Foreman was able to do it, and I am in better shape than he was when he was doing it.  Records are meant to be broken, and America wouldn't be America if we stopped everybody from doing what they are trying to do.  When people create roadblocks from me doing something that's not wrong, it's not fair.

BT – Do you feel that your detractors, and those people that are trying to scare people from supporting you may end your career before father time will?

EH – If I truly believed that they could, then I wouldn't do it.  I know they can't though, but a lot of times it's easier for me not to say anything.  If you answer them back you can put yourself in a lot of trouble.  I have had people tell me, 'the people just love you Evander, and they just don't want you to get hurt.'  Well I ask them, is slavery love?  Slavery is someone controlling you.  How can someone control your lifestyle based on what someone else feels.  It's a choice, boxing is what I do.  This is the risk that I take.  How many people get locked up because they are going to have a beer?  How many people are in this country that are obese?  It's about choice, you live and die by what you believe.  It's about a person losing their rights from being who they want to be.

BT – I see some promoters that match up their prospects with guys that have 2 wins and 15 losses.  Do you feel that's a double standard in boxing?  When these kinds of fights are sanctioned, and Evander Holyfield gets grief for wanting to continue on, does that frustrate you?

EH – That's what I am saying, I understand boxing.  You got some 30 yr olds that are walking on their heels that don't need another punch to save their soul, but then people are telling me that they love me so much so stop boxing.  I have done nothing in boxing but be a fair person.  I have never put anyone down, and somehow Evander became the boxer that everybody dislikes?  What has Evander Holyfield done in boxing other than be a nice guy, a person that overcame the odds, and won a lot, and gave the people their money's worth?  Evander never cheated anyone, so my whole thing is if I don't speak up nobody else will.  I never done anything wrong to anyone in the sport of boxing.

BT – Are you working on some things to get back in there?

EH – Yes, I have people working on some things, but I don't want to put it out there because my detractors will try to tell them not to fight me.  I don't know, I don't know why they are saying that.  What have I done to the sport to give boxing a black eye? What have I done in boxing for people to try to mess up my opportunities?

BT – How do you combat that from happening?

EH – I trust in God, and I don't let it become big.  I am just happy that you happened to call on the right day where I felt like talking about this (laughs).

BT – Well I am honored that you gave me the opportunity to talk to you about all of this.  Do you have any closing thoughts for your fans?

EH – I will be champion again in 2008.


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