Holyfield marks induction with emotional speech


June 13, 2017
International Boxing Hall of Fame Class of 2017 inductees, from left, Steve Farhood, Barry Tompkins, Marco Antonio Barrera, Evander Holyfield, Jerry Roth and Johnny Lewis display their rings following the induction ceremony in Canastota, New York on Sunday.


'The Real Deal' delivered one more time. Evander Holyfield, boxing's only four-time world heavyweight champion, was greeted with a standing ovation on Sunday at his induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, and he punctuated the moment with a heartfelt speech that focused on the significant contributions to his long career made by his mother and his siblings.

"This Hall of Fame thing is all about the help I got from someone else," said Holyfield, the youngest of nine children. "My mother would have been so happy."

Holyfield's impressive career spanned more than three decades and included a bronze medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics, undisputed cruiserweight and heavyweight titles, and two memorable fights against Mike Tyson and another against Riddick Bowe. He had an amateur record of 160-14 with 75 knockouts and finished his professional career at 44-10-2 with 29 knockouts.


On this day, the memory of his mother, Annie, who died in the 1990s, took centre stage.

"When I came back with the bronze medal, my mama said, 'See, I told you.' My mom wouldn't let me quit," Holyfield recalled. "My mom said, regardless of how good you are, you do mess up, and if you do mess up and you have a good attitude, you'll get more opportunities. I had 10 setbacks, so that lets you know that I messed up. But because of the good attitude I had, I got more chances."

"My goal was to be the very best that I could be. I just didn't know what it was."

Also inducted were: three-division champion Marco Antonio Barrera of Mexico; the late super flyweight champion Johnny Tapia; Australian trainer Johnny Lewis; judge Jerry Roth; journalist-broadcaster Steve Farhood; broadcaster Barry Tompkins; and Eddie Booker and ring announcer Jimmy Lennon Sr., also honoured posthumously.

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