Evander Holyfield Just Won't Quit

By Noah Davis 

In Atlanta Magazine‘s February issue, Charles Bethea pens a long feature on boxer Evander Holyfield.

It’s a tale that shows the boxer’s many sides, from his devotion to the Church (he goes to confession at 4 a.m. every morning and has tithed almost $20 million) and his big heart (“If you love something like you love them Nintendo games, you’ll be successful.”) to his tragic need to continue boxing.

With taxes on his Fayetteville properties adding up to more than $155,000 in 2010, cumulative child support payments in the $500,000 range, and the occasional $17,000 electricity bill, Holyfield has to keep fighting. It’s the ring or the poorhouse, and Holyfield has always chosen the former, no matter the trouble it’s brought along.

The man who got his ear bitten off by Mike Tyson is both self-aware and hopelessly out of touch.

“Everybody makes mistakes. I’m just a popular person, so mine appear to be bigger,” he says. “Almost like Michael Vick. They were dog-fighting all these years. He was just a popular person got caught. I didn’t invent having babies out of wedlock. There was babies out of wedlock before I was born. There was spending too much money before I did it.”

Parts of the feature just make you want to cry.

Annie Laura Holyfield never watched her son fight. She couldn’t stand to see him get hit. So occasionally, she’d fly to the bout and sit up in the hotel room until they told her who had won. Then, usually, it was time to party. She’d come downstairs and dance all night with her youngest child, the skinny boy they’d called Chubby, champion of the world.

It’s worth the read if you have 20 minutes or so.