by Hans Olson
The Real Deal.
His name is synonymous with American boxing. One of the greatest heavyweights of all time, Holyfield continues to fight on into his late 40’s, recently knocking out Brian Nielsen in Denmark this past May.
In addition to his fight career, Evander has an interesting new project in the works. Collaborating with R&B artist Ray J and Everi Exposure, Evander will look to “bring boxing back” with a series of live events/fight cards in the near future that will expand boxing’s presence by tapping into markets unfamiliar to typical fight fans. Boxing Insider caught up with the 5-time heavyweight champ on Monday night to discuss this, the state of American boxing, the Klitschko’s and much more. Check it out!
First off, can you tell me about your new partnership with Everi Exposure Entertainment and Ray-J?
“Well actually this partnership is gonna expose boxing to more people. You know, boxing is declining right now, and I think going towards music and all that—it’ll kind of give people a little more entertaining, and it can be a good situation there that works.”
You mentioned boxing on a decline. What do you think is the biggest reason for boxing’s decline in America?
“Well, because they don’t show it enough on primetime television for free! And I think that when you don’t support the amateur program, it hurts professionally. In general, when the amateur program suffers, the professional program comes and don’t nobody seen them long enough. They really don’t put enough time in the boxing part, so you’ve got a few good fights as opposed to a lot of good fights.”
What kind of a vibe are you going for with these events you and Ray J look to put on?
“Well, I think that I’ll pretty much see what type of fight cards you have, and the fighters—what type of music they like, because what’s most important to me is what the fighters like.”
Definitely. Now let’s talk a little boxing with you. Since the Brian Nielsen fight this past May, how have you been doing? Are you in training right now?
“Well, everything has been kind of slow. Of course, they were telling me that I would go fight for the championship [against WBA “regular” heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin] and they pulled out of it and fought somebody else. So I’m just maintaining. My time will come”
When do you look to get back in the ring?
“Hopefully sometime next year.”
Nice. I wanted to ask you, because in many ways, you’re this generation’s Joe Frazier. With Joe Frazier’s recent passing, do you have any thoughts on Joe Frazier as a fighter?
“Well you know Joe Frazier was definitely a good fighter. Him and Ali put on some great matches, you know? But at some point in time everybody got to check out. You can’t take it personal. We all have that day.”
Let’s talk about your most memorable fight. If you had to pick that was the most memorable fight of your career…what would that be?
“All of ’em were memorable! I’d say one that made a bigger difference I guess, was when I beat Mike Tyson.”
The first fight with Mike Tyson?
Yeah, you were a big underdog going into that fight! Let’s go back to it. How was the whole atmosphere that night when you knocked out Mike Tyson?”
“Well of course it’s almost what you say, when you want to say ‘bigger than life.’ People tend to think you’re a lot of money when they think you’re going to lose! Only thing is I did not lose! And I did win and it was a big fight for me.”
The heavyweight division right now—you know, it’s based in Europe, the Klitschko’s are dominating…what are your thoughts on the Klitschko’s and why they’re not embraced in America in the way that other heavyweights in the past have been?
“I think that actually they are good fighters. It’s just, you know…an era in time where I think the quality of the competition is not as stiff as it was when you had myself and Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, Riddick Bowe…and Europe used to have a lot of good fighters in the mix. And at this time, they are a hell of a [couple] fighters, and there’s nobody there to compete with them.”
When all is said and done, when people say the name Evander Holyfield, what do you want them to remember?
“Well you know obviously they have their own choice, but I think I just want them to know that I was the best.”
Boxing Insider’s Hans Olson can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @hansolson