Holyfield continues down his path toward fifth world title

By Brad Cooney


Holyfield continues down his path toward fifth world title

Boxingtalk sat down with the legendary Evander Holyfield and got his thoughts on his recent victory over Lou Savarese.  Holyfield looked much younger than 44 years old in his unanimous decision win, and he is now continuing his march towards a historic fifth heavyweight title. 

BC - Congratulations on a very impressive victory over Lou Savarese.

EH - Thank you.

BC - Let's get right into this, assess your performance against Lou Savarese.

EH - Well it's kind of hard to give an accurate performance just yet because I haven't seen the tape of the fight yet.  The response that I have been getting from everybody seems good, they say my jab was very sharp.  This fight was well planned, and disciplined.

BC - I saw the fight, and to me you looked very sharp and you looked younger.

EH - Well I can tell you that in practice we are working on speed and movement with Ronnie Shields.  We have been going back to the basics and the fundamentals that got me to be the champion.  We worked combinations, and speed, and I thought I fought a well disciplined fight.

BC - Even though you haven't seen the fight, are you pleased overall with your performance?

EH - Well I am pleased, and realistically the comments that have been given to me thus far proved that I must have fought a good fight.  I didn't just fight anybody, I fought a well skilled fighter.  He's a good fighter, but I think I was able to out power him.  I got hurt once, but I was able to show that if I get cracked, I can still take it, and that's the most important thing.

BC - It wasn't too long ago when the New York Commission wouldn't even give you  permission to fight.  Do you think your critics are changing now, as it relates to your goal to become Heavyweight champion for a 5th time?

EH - Well I understand what was going on, they said I was a good fighter, and told me that I just didn't have it anymore.  They didn't respect me to at least ask me a question about it.  Unfortunately it went that way, but the most important thing is that my shoulder is not injured, and I am doing the things that I used to do.  We can't live in the past, we have to live in what we do today. It should tell people that age shouldn't be the reason they put people out of boxing, but can one pass the test?  I have proven that I could, and perform well.  I think as a courtesy to the fighter, if he falls from where he was, and if things aren't going right, it's good to ask that person, have a meeting and ask them what is happening.  It should at least be communicated, and thought through.

BC - Why do you think a Bernard Hopkins who is in his 40's gets a pass, and Evander Holyfield doesn't?

EH - Well let's give Bernard his proper credit, it's not like he was flushed out by anybody.  I can see when people saw my performance against Larry Donald, who's not known to be a big puncher, and they saw me lose to James Toney who's not known to be a big puncher, and Chris Byrd as well, they say if these guys are hitting me and they aren't big punchers, what happens when big punchers hit me? That's a possible scenario, but the most important thing is the communication, I didn't get old overnight, I got injured, and I was able to recover from that injury.  The big part.... we as a fight community need to protect each other.  At least ask questions, rather than assume something.  At least give someone the opportunity to explain, at least research it.

BC - What's your game-plan now?  Obviously if you get the call to fight for a title, you grab it.  What if you don't get the call soon, what's next?

EH - Well I will take another fight, I'll take another one.  I truly believe that I am getting better because I'm fighting. This is the first time in 4 or 5 years I am fighting two fights, I'll have 4 fights within a year.  It hasn't been that way for me in at least 6 or 7 years, so I am better!

BC - As you look at the Heavyweight division as it sits now, how long before you think you will get your shot again?

EH - I think before this year is over, or early next year is reasonable.

BC - Let's say you do become the Heavyweight champion for the 5th time, now what?  Will you defend it, or do you hang up the gloves?

EH - My goal is to be the undisputed Heavyweight champion of the world.  I will defend it, and try to get another one.  Two of the current champion are about to fight, the WBO and WBA champion, that's two belts right there.  Hopefully I will get them two belts right there, and the two other guys, WBC, and IBF, if those two guys fight, that's just one more to get.

BC - When you look at a Wladimir Klitschko, very big, very strong, long reach, powerful straight puncher.  If you get a shot at Klistchko, why would Evander Holyfield win when others have failed?

EH - Well I bring a lot more to the table than other fighters.  They are big punchers, but I am a skillful fighter.  I hit hard enough though (laughs), I may not be the biggest puncher, but I hit hard enough.

BC - You always have your hands in side projects, what's the latest with you outside of the ring?

EH - Well of course on 4th of July I will have my picnic for the kids.  There will be about 7 thousand kids there, I'll have rides, hamburgers, hot dogs, to celebrate our Independence Day.  I am also working on building a youth center for the kids, my foundation is accepting foundations for that.

BC - Where can people send their money to help build the youth center?

EH - They can log onto www.holyfieldfoundation.org and send their donations in there. 

BC - You also have your official Holyfield site if people are interested in Holyfield gear.

EH - Yes, that site address is www.evanderholyfield.com

BC -  It's always a pleasure having you on Boxingtalk, is there anything that you would like to say to your fans in closing?

EH - To my fans, It won't be long.  It won't be long and I will be undisputed Heavyweight champion again.


Send questions and comments to: bradcooney1@bellsouth.net