Evander Holyfield: Gets Ready For Dancing with the Stars, Tyson, Steroids

It’s an international phenomenon. It does exist in this country, but we don’t talk about it or get involved in weekly ballroom dancing competitions. Six celebrities will get together in a dance competition on ABC TV. Four time boxing Heavyweight Champion of the World Evander Holyfield is one of six celebrities. He is without a doubt one of boxing’s most celebrated champions and will always be remembered for his 1996 and 1997 bouts with Mike Tyson and a bitten ear.

Listen to the Evander Holyfield interview:

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Chris Yandek: First off how are you?

Evander Holyfield: “I am doing great.

CY: What was the main thing that attracted you to wanting to get involved with this Dancing with the Stars ABC series?

EF: “Well, number one I like dancing. Number two I knew it would be challenging because I had never done this type of dance before. I always wanted to and I happened to have the courage to go out there and give it my best shot.”

CY: You know what it’s like to move around athletically speaking from your boxing career, but how much dancing and dance moves did you know before this competition?

EF: “Well, I can move well and the things that I know and did know. I knew it would be difficult, but I did something and hoped to do it well enough because I am competing against people who don’t do as well either. My shot is the greatest if I am going against people who have never did it.”

CY: How much have you learned from your dance partner Edyta Sliwinska who is a 2001 International Grand Ball Champion?

EF: “Well, everything that I know about she taught me. It’s not like I went in knowing anything, but I was a little discouraged because I actually thought I would be able to catch on to this stuff easily. It was quite difficult, but because her patience and know how she was able to work through. Now I can do it comfortably enough to get out there on the floor.”

CY: What’s harder? A boxing match or performing a perfect dance with no mistakes while following your partner?

EF: “Well, of course a boxing match is hard because boxing isn’t set for you to do good. You have to force your will upon someone, but dancing you don’t have to force your will. It should be a lot easier because if I make a mistake I don’t get hit.”

CY: How many boxing fights do you think you have left in you and when do you call it a retirement?

EF: “Well, actually it’s a goal that I have. It could be one fight. It could be two. It could be three. My goal is to be the undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World. That’s how I look at it.”

CY: Do you want another chance at the Heavyweight Championship of the World?

EF: “Well, hopefully I will get a chance. I do want a chance. I believe I campaign till I get my chance and I make the very best of my chance.”

CY: Most people either say they love him or hate boxing promoter Don King. What are your thoughts on him?

EF: “Well, I look at him as a promoter. He’s a good promoter. Not just a good promoter, but I would say he has to be one of the greatest if not the greatest promoter. He’s a tough business man.”

CY: On November 9, 1996 you defeated Mike Tyson in eleven rounds to win the Heavyweight Championship of the World. How did it feel to defeat Tyson in one of the biggest and most memorable boxing fights of all time?

EF: “Well, out of all the physical fights I think that could have been one of the most greatest all time fights not because it was just Mike Tyson, but because it was what the people who loved boxing felt. Everybody knew Mike Tyson was a tough guy. No ifs, ands, or buts. Everybody knew I would have to fight the perfect fight to beat him. I was able to do that.”

CY: On June 28, 1997 you defeated Mike Tyson in the anticipated rematch when he bit your ear. What were you thinking and feeling when you have your opponent biting your ear?

EF: “That was a rude awakening because that is something you never ever had. Certain things are imaginable like a person could head butt you or you get hit with an elbow. It’s a lot of little things like that. When you get the bite it’s something you never thought about it. It is so surprising and shocking that it was just totally an off night.”

CY: When do you think you will end up in the Boxing Hall of Fame and do you ever think about that?

EF: “Well, I always knew that the best fighter would get into the hall of fame. There was no doubt in mind that I would get there. I really would rather get in there the right way and be happy once I get there because that means it’s the end of your career and there are other things.”

CY: You think any of your children will get into boxing like Muhammad Ali’s daughter?

EF: “Well, I have a son now that’s seven years old. I think it’s a great chance he may do it. He has the mentality and he wants to do it. I guess with that desire and determination when a kid makes their mind up themselves. I am not really pushing him towards it. He walks around saying, ‘I am the real deal daddy. I am going to be a good fighter.’ When they say you come back it’s not like you got to do that because I did it. I did it, but you have more choices. If that’s what you do, then you have my blessing.”

CY: Have you ever thought about a career in politics?

EF: “No. I probably do better not being in politics. They have too much control over you when you are in politics.”

CY: With all the talk of steroids in sports, what are your thoughts on steroids in boxing overall?

EF: “Well, when I think of steroids I think of an image. You have the advantage over someone, which is a form of cheating. I guess it wouldn’t be right unless it was legal for everybody. Reason it’s not legal for everybody is because it can hurt people seriously. That’s the reason I am happy about the supervision over this stuff. The people who want the short term glory end up hurting themselves a lifetime.”

CY: Finally, what else do you think there is left to accomplish in your lifetime?

EF: “Well, there really is a lot. I think my whole living in vain involves me. I know that the biggest help for me is to help someone else in so many different ways.”