Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Proven Holyfield Keeps Finding Reason to Believe

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Proven Holyfield Keeps Finding Reason to Believe

Article excerpt

That Evander Holyfield today is the heavyweight champion of the world cannot be explained by reason or research.

Here is an athlete who built 30 pounds of muscle into his body to move up to the largest class. Here is a fighter who has lost three of his last eight bouts, two of them to Riddick Bowe. Here is a man who three years ago was diagnosed with a hole in his heart and was thought to be unfit for anything more strenuous than desk work.

Here is the remarkable Holyfield who eight months ago stunned Iron Mike Tyson and on June 28 will fight him again. Having defied convention at every opportunity, Evander Holyfield looks at this unexpected rematch and sees what he saw the first time: a place to spend his relentless hard labor and a mission to further steel his deep faith. "Coming into the first fight, I truly believed, but other people didn't believe I believed," he says. "They thought it was talk. Now they pretty much believe I can win, and I will win." Holyfield carried a spiritual glow about him when he met Tyson in Las Vegas on Nov. 9, radiating a confidence that was at odds with the oddsmakers who had him tagged as a ready victim. By every tangible reckoning, Holyfield was a fighter in decline, 34 years old and without a discernible future when he abruptly stopped Tyson in the 11th round. This should not have happened, after all. Even if the perpetrator believed it would. "It's not that in 1996 I just started boxing," Holyfield says. "I'm a skilled professional. This is what I do best. I truly feel I have the solution to the style he has. He can be one-dimensional." Tyson, to this day, complains that he was not properly prepared for Holyfield - that he did not consider him a serious adversary. Believe what you want, says Holyfield, but give some credit to the fighter who pounded Tyson into submission. "The whole thing comes down to being able to prove yourself on even the days when you feel bad," Holyfield says. "Whether it was a good day or bad day, I made the day bad for him. It's about skills. It's about knowledge of game. I think I have knowledge of game to be able to do it again. …

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