Evander ‘Real Deal' Holyfield - ESB Exclusive Interview

evander holyfield01.11.06 - By Geoffrey Ciani: Monday night, I was afforded the honor of having the opportunity to speak with former undisputed champion and four-time heavyweight champion of the world – Evander ‘Real Deal’ Holyfield. Finishing up his final preparations for a bout with Fres Oquendo on November 10, Holyfield seems as focused as he’s ever been. In fact, after my brief chat with the former champion, one thing is certain: Holyfield is determined to become heavyweight champion of the world for a record fifth time. Indeed, he’s looking for a story-book ending to cap off his illustrious career and he’s ready to take on anyone and everyone in order to fulfill his dream.

Here’s what he had to say:

Q: How's training coming along?
A: I've been training for eight to ten weeks and I've been working hard to get myself back in the shape where I can do the things that I had once done – and a little bit more. So I think people will be real pleased when they see my performance and they will see that I haven't lost anything and I'm actually gaining more.

Q: Having accomplished everything you can possibly accomplish, at this stage, what motivates you to keep going?
A: Well, being able to finish like I'm able to finish. I always asked myself ‘How do you want to finish?’. Well, I want to finish as a champ. I want to finish with an upright spirit and be happy about the things that I've done, how I did what I could to be the very best that I can be. When I was 28 I was the heavyweight champ of the world. I lost my first professional match in 1992 against Riddick Bowe. When I lost it, my goal was to come back and be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world one more time -- then retire. This quest to become undisputed heavyweight champion of the world again has allowed me to be in the game today.

Q: And the closest you came was against Lennox Lewis?
A: Yeah, that was November of 1999.

Q: If you beat Oquendo, who would you ideally want as your next opponent?
A: One of the champions.

Q: Of the four belt holders, are there any in particular you think would make an especially good style match-up for you?
A: I think that anyone of them would make a good style match-up. Besides, I need to get all the belts anyway, so it really doesn't matter which one I fight first.

Q: So you'd be interested in a match-up with, let’s say, IBF champion Wladimir Klitschko?
A: Of course I would be!

Q: What happens if things don't work out in the Oquendo bout and you get another set-back at this stage in the game?
A: Well, you know, I don't think about things like that. It's contrary to what I'm doing here. With anything in life I never quit. I'm working towards the goal of becoming heavyweight champion of the world so I think positively. Being positive is the only way to go.

Q: If you won a belt, would you rule out a 3rd fight with Tyson or a 4th fight with Bowe?
A: At this point, I'm gonna have to win the belts from someone else. I'm only interested in the things that are going to allow me to reach my goal.

Q: Do you have any predictions for Briggs-Lyakhovich?
A: Well you know, I actually think it's going to come down to which man lands the harder shots. It could be Briggs who lands a good shot to stop it – I think that's the only way Briggs can win. But I actually think Lyakhovich has the better stamina and will probably wear Briggs down.

Q: Any predictions for your upcoming bout with Fres Oquendo?
A: I'm going to win very impressively. There's no question that I will win.

Q: Against Jeremy Bates, you looked as explosive and energetic as you had in some time. Did you mention this had something to do with your shoulder being healthy?
A: Yes. I've had three shoulder surgeries. After the last Johnny Ruiz fight I suffered a shoulder injury. I had my first shoulder surgery in the year 2000. Then I had my second shoulder surgery before I fought Rahman, then I tore it again during the Chirs Byrd fight and had to get it worked on again. The doctors then told me I might need to take some time off, but I was afraid to take time off, and I was not fighting at 100%. And in the time I've taken off since, I actually had the time to fully recover. Now people will see that I'm fully recovered.

Q: When was the last time your shoulder felt this good?
A: I would say around 1993 when I beat Riddick Bowe.

Q: Do you have any predictions for the upcoming elections? Do you think the Republicans are going to keep the House, or do you think the Democrats are going to win it back?
A: There's a good chance. I think there's a good chance that the Democrats are going to win it back. One of the things that's happened is I think a lot of people may be looking for a change.

Will Evander Holyfield take another step closer to fulfilling his dream of regaining the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world? Find out for yourself, and be sure to tune in on Friday, November 10. The fight will be televised via Fox “Special Order Sports” PPV and iN Demand PPV for $44.95.

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Article posted on 01.11.2006

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