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Evander Holyfield: One More Round
By Jim Cawkwell (May 26, 2004) 
Evander Holyfield
“Come on champ, we’re not done yet! I know you’re tired, but it’s still even. This is the last one champ, we need this one man! You take this round and it’s all yours! It’s gonna take everything you’ve got, but I know you can do it champ! Now get out there!

I don’t doubt that Evander Holyfield has heard abundant variations of the above rant during his long career. Maybe it helped to inspire him to victory, and maybe, as has been the case most recently, it didn’t. However, it is high time that he heard those types of words bellowed in his ears once more. Another heartfelt attempt to bring out the best in him. To help him show the world that Evander Holyfield is a true warrior. Then he needs to be sent out, not into the boxing ring, but into the world where more significant battles await him.

This October, Evander will celebrate his forty second birthday. That is a grand age in boxing years, but an ideal point in life for a man to set out on wondrous new beginnings. Before today, he has performed boxing miracles in numerous ring wars, truly earning the adoration of millions of boxing fans worldwide. This being so, my contention is that the only real battle Evander has left is with himself.

I am not going to patronize a great champion or poke and prod him with statistics that suggest that he should retire from boxing. Nor will I be condescending to a proud man who has given his all to his sport and has the right to decide his own future. But I am going to say that Evander Holyfield has a rare opportunity if he wants to take it. And I am also going to say that there are greater tasks, beyond boxing, to be completed by a man who has shown the necessary courage and determination to do so.

Although he leaves us no choice, but to recall his failings of late alongside his triumphs, it is unrealistic of us to deride him for being the warrior he has always been, only now to a lesser effect. After becoming an American hero and achieving the stuff of boxing legend, how is he expected to turn away that desire to be the best, to be our champion?

The heavyweight division is so weak now that this aged version of Holyfield could conceivably impact it in some way. Unusual as it may sound, a high profile win for Evander at this point in his career is precisely what is not needed to improve the quality of his life. Beating a top ten fighter would be vindication for him and perhaps more worryingly, it would gather encouragement from the public for him to continue.

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But if Evander does continue to fight, the inevitable question of his retirement will be answered, only not by him. My fear is that his stubbornness will maneuver him into a beating that will leave an indelible mark upon him both physically and psychologically. The “Humble Warrior,” may find himself humbled permanently.

If that were to happen, I feel that we would all suffer the loss in one way or another of a man who has the potential to be not only a fantastic ambassador for boxing, but also a greatly influential character in the lives of many people from many different walks of life.

As a fighter I came to recognize him as one of the best at his craft, but his charming, warm, personable aura and devotion to God remained with me beyond the fights. I sensed that here was a man who may be able to transcend the sport of boxing and become involved with life in other ways. Using his name and the great qualities it has become synonymous with to help people or to draw attention to injustices wherever he found them. I do not know Evander Holyfield personally, but if he wants a fight, I know that there are plenty in our world that he could get into.

He has begun to do this through the Holyfield Foundation which lends support to a variety of boxing clubs and community associations. And his REAL DEAL record company is evidence that his guiding hand is not limited to only those of an athletic disposition. Such ventures are Evander’s investments in the dreams of those less fortunate than himself, and I hope he will realize, the beginning of a wholly fulfilling life beyond the pain and sacrifice of the boxing business.

In keeping with his Christian faith, Evander often quotes the following bible scripture as the epitome of his life’s philosophy: “Phil. 413,”-“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

It is my hope that one day soon; Evander Holyfield will recall those words in his thoughts and finally be able to walk away from boxing, knowing he has not reached the end, only a new beginning.
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