Video Transcription: Evander Holyfield

By Michael Campbell

08/03/2007

Video Transcription: Evander Holyfield

BT:  Your mantra throughout your whole life has been to work hard, make the right decisions.  But a lot of these guys, who maybe aren't quite as talented, do you think there's a lot of pressure on them to use form enhancing drugs, because they think my competitors are, or I just need a little bit of edge.  Do you think there is that kind of pressure on kids?Life is pressure itself.  You only become the very best, because you're able to deal with pressure. Pressure is nothing new to our society, because it takes pessure for you to grow.  You have to work hard. With me, my mother told me all my life, you can't be like everybody else.  They was able to curse, and I wasn't able to curse.  My mom was going to beat the daylights out of me.  Practicaly  all my life because of my mom, I knew you don't want to do everything everbody do.  Why did you do this, everyboy else was doing it.  I got so many whippings, because of the fact of me trying to do what everybody was doing.  So with me, when it was told to me that other people was on steroids. Evander you could do this, you'll be bigger,  stronger.  If I can't do it right, I don't want to do this at all.  I ain't never fought nobody under no kind of influence, it's always been me.  And my happiness has been, that I have been the very best that I could be.  When I didn't win those fights, but I did give my all. That's it.  When it came down to all the defeats that I had.  Reddick Bowe, Micheal Moorer, James Toney,  Chris Byrd, Lennox Lewis, I gave my all.  I did my very best that I could do with what I had.  So when it's all over I can Say hey, I didn't beat nobody, and I didn't lose against nobody doing something wrong.  I did all that I can and all natural.  That's the way that it's always been.  Just as I tell it I'm still gonna be the five time heavy-weight champion of the world.  It's still all natural." 

BT:  In the sport of boxing I think a couple of years ago especially during the McGuire/Sosa home run chase fans started  to notice a lot of drugs being prevailant in baseball, football.  We've had Congressional hearings, government inquiries, boxing isn't set up like those sports, it's harder to govern the athletes, usually they only test championship fights, even that in certain jurisdictions.  Were you ever tested for steroids as an Olympian, or as an amatuer?

EH:  We were tested for illegally banned substances.  That means they did check our urine.  I'm sure at the Olympics anything that you had in you, they were going to test it, and they was going to let everbody know.  I had seen people tested at the time, but back then the most anybody got busted for was reefer.  I know a few people who got kicked off the team for reefer, but anything else they didn't say nothing about it.  The fact is certain things are easier to get out of your system than others.  You got people who tamper around with what gets out of your system faster.  If you look at boxing, and you look at people who's weight is always fluctuating, you say wow what happened. 

BT:  Let's talk about one of the names that everyone mentions when they talk about boxing and steroids is James Toney.  You fought JT only five months after he was a cruiser-weight against  Vassiliy Jirov.  He weighed 190 pounds, five months later, he's 217, he's 37 pounds heavier.  He's ripped, he's muscled, and his neck is huge.   What are your thoughts on that fight?

EH: They tested me.  I figure if they tested me, they tested him.   I don't know if they tested him or not. He definetly was a bigger person.  I'm not over-concerned  about my opponent and what he on, I just have to make sure that I'm right.  I don't understand what it is, but eventually, in the long run, you hurt yourself all the time.  You just hurt yourself in the long run.

BT:  You do hurt yourself in the long run.  That is the biggest reason for a fighter not to use steroids, but in he short term he is cheating against his opponent, he's hitting him with more muscle mass, it's a dangerous game, you're taking shots to the head, that should be illegal.

EH:  It is illegal, if that's what he's on.  I can't say he was.  It's among things that ain't no sense in me assuming a persons on something that they're not on.  That just gets me caught up in here assuming.  They said the name was Evan Field, so they said I assume that's got to be Evander Holyfield.  Personally, I don't do that.  They ain't never seen my weight up and down like that.  They ain't never seen some performance that I can't match.  I ain't never did something so outstanding, that I couldn't do it again. I have gradually worked myself up from a light heavy-weight, all the way up, and not fought just one fight, or fought all the weak people and hope that I could get a championship.  No, I fought everybody, and I stayed in the heavy-weight division and I didn't come back down to a lower weight.  I've been consistent in what I've done.  I have been able to take the bar to where no one has taken it.  I'm the only guy that's ever been a heavy-weight champion the full time.  That's not a coincidence, that's the fact that I work hard.  It's the price that I pay, and when things don't go my way I don't cry like a baby, and pout, and not show up.  When I didn't get the decision, that I felt I should have got, against Lennox Lewis, I didn't cry and say they cheated me.  When they asked what I was gonna do I said I'm gonna get back in line.  I got back in line, and because Lennox Lewis didn't fight John Ruiz.  I was able to fight John Ruiz, and I became the four time heavy-weight champion of the world.  Next time they gave the fight to John Ruiz, I said I'm gonna get back in line and I'm gonna be the champ again.  And I will be the undisputed heavy-weight champion of the world.  My job is not to criticize no fighter.  When they check everybody and they do the right thing by everybody.  They checked me.  Every time I get in the ring they check me.  I think I'm the most checked athlete in the world, by anything.  They say, well he's a nice guy.  Other people they don't check, me they check.  The most important thing to me is that I can sleep at night because I don't cheat.  Whatever I got I worked at it. I worked for it, and I didn't take any shortcuts.

 

BT:  Shortcuts is the thing, and I think one of the things tast is furthur evidence is you see a lot of fighters use steroids as a way to enhance their recovery time, so they can train more and come back from injuries faster.  Come back from a hard work-out faster.  The first time that we did an interview was almost two years ago at the beginning of your comeback training after the Larry Donald fight, so if you will, this latest comeback with the fights in Dallas and San Antonio, it hasn't been a 6 month thing.  This hasn't been a 4 month thing, this has been a long gradual and steady process.  If some one wanted to do it in 4 months they would probably use some assistance from drugs. 

EH:  I was accustomed to when boxing first started.  Being able to fight four or five times a year.  You could do that if you have certain opponents, but if you fight a tough fight, your body will not allow you to do it. 

BT:  When you were in training against Donald, you were in great shape, just like you are now, but your body kind of failed you during the fight, your shoulder gave you problems.  My question is how is your body different now than it was at that time?

EH:  My shoulder is no longer in pain. I think sometimes when you recover from an injury, your mind, your body don't accept it.  My shouloder wasn't hurting, but I'm still hindered, by is it gonna hurt if I slam it.  I have the occasional cramp.  If you get a cramp it's a memory state, because you've been injured.  Re-hab in a proper way, when you give the muscle the memory you need to have to win.  So it shows you something about me.  Even though all that, I was able to fight him, because I believed that I could beat him.  The same thing in that same situation,  I fought James Toney,  cuz I felt that I could beat him. I fought Chris Byrd because I thought that I could beat him.  Just because I felt like it, my performance wasn't good enough to win.  Chris Byrd beat me, James Toney beat me, Larry Donald beat me.  The only thing that I can say is that was my fault, because I went in there believing even though the way that I feel, I believed I still could beat him.  That's the reason I kept the fight.  I don't take any fight I don't think I can win.  I took it for granted, these are things I don't take for granted.

BT:  Do you think your body is back to where you need it to be to win the world championship?

EH: Yes.  And that's very confident, because if I can train hard, with my body feeling the way that it's feeling, and still be allright, then I know that it's a mind thing. 

BT:  You've had to adapt your training as the years go by. Are you going to do as much road work now?

EH:  No, I don't do as much road work as I did, because it takes too much out of my legs.  And it takes my legs too long to recover.

BT:  How do you get your cardio?

EH:  One thing about getting older, your lungs expand.  You don't get tired that quick anyway. you can endure.  You need that explosive, to get in track, that nice gear, how fast do it take to get into that second gear, that third gear,  can't just switch back and forth.  Balance is the whole art of the game, when you're older, you can endure, but if you're in that one gear someone can beat the daylights out you.  You've got to be able to get out that gear.

BT:  I think the people expected you to beat Bates, and you surprised a lot of people against Okindo with an impressive performance.  What are the fans going to see against Matalone?

EH:   The realistic thing is I'm better and they're going to see me throwing more punches.  They will get an opportunity to see that I've always been a good.  I see puches  real well. counter-puncher.  They haven't been seeing that a lot because I couldn't do that, because of my shoulder. I couldn't do that, I had to take a lot of punches,because I couldn't get out of the way. But I can get out of the way of them punches I always had a good eye.  But if you're injured you don't get away from the shot.  The shots that I used to get away from I was getting hit with those shots.  I realized I couldn't get away, so I went strictly to defense.  Everybody wondering when I was going to counter, I wasn't in a position to counter because of my shoulder.  Now, I'm better.  I've recovered for that day. You'll see a lot of counter shots the would see that I would actually pressure him into making him swing at me, make him swing and then I'll counter, then if he don't counter,then I'll just take him out.  The advanced order of the game of boxing is to see what you can do, everytime he swing, I make him miss, and make him pay. When you do that, you shut people down, and when you shut them down, you just go ahead and take them out.

BT:  We know you're next goal is to become world champion again, but a lot of people are clamoring to see fights that didn't happen in a day when they could have happened.  A lot of your contemporaries are making comebacks as well. Such as David Tua and Oliver McCall.  Is it possible we might see a fight that against a matchup that could have been a classic?

EH:  I'm not looking to go that route.  Not so much about the money. These guys are champions for fighting somebody.  I'm intersted in fighting for the championship, but I'm not trying to redo something that's not going to put me in a higher state. I'm not in the game for the game, I'm in the game for the goal of becoming the undisputed heavy-weight champion of the world.  I realize that the money will follow that.  The very best thats where the money's going to be at the very best fights. and that's why I never choose an opponent, I choose a championship belt, because whoever is the very best is going to have the championship belt.  In my eyes the four champions are Shannon Briggs, Klitschko, Valuev, and Maskaev. If that changes, I'll have to make some adjustments to strive for the people who actually get the belts.

BT: Good luck with on the 17th.