Almost 50, and still in the ring
HUNTINGTON -- Evander Holyfield's goal at age 48 is the same as it was when he started boxing professionally 26 years ago.
Get to the top.
Holyfield hopes to take that next step Saturday night when he defends his World Boxing Federation heavyweight title against Sherman "Tank" Williams at The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. The 12-round main event headlines the "Redemption in America: The Journey Begins Now" pay-per-view show from the resort's Colonial Hall.
"Why keep going? Because it's a goal," Holyfield said during a telephone interview from Los Angeles on Jan. 6. "When you have a goal, you don't put a time limit on it. A lot of people don't think about how you start, but how you finish."
Six other fights are scheduled that night.
Holyfield (43-10-2, 28 KOs) last fought April 10, 2010. He knocked Francois Botha out in the eighth round in Las Vegas to claim the then vacant WBF crown. In boxing's alphabet of divisions, that one is a minor title.
Holyfield has trained of late in New York City at Church St. Boxing Gym. He held public workouts there Monday and Tuesday.
"I like to stay busy," Holyfield said. "I used to go four to five times a year. I go slower now. Plus a big fight takes time to promote."
The major targets for Holyfield, a four-time heavyweight champion, are the WBC crown held by Vitali Klitschko and WBA crown held by David Haye. Holyfield, who calls Atlanta home, is trying to become the oldest man to win a major heavyweight title belt, an effort that would surpass George Foreman.
"My goal is to be heavyweight champion of the world," said Holyfield, who's nickname is "The Real Deal." "People say I'm an old man, why do I have to go against him? I have the ability, the agility to get it done. I prove myself more by what I do, not what I say."
Holyfield insists his training sessions are still intense. He just doesn't schedule as many as he used to.
"It's easy. Boxing is the most important thing in my life," Holyfield said. "I'm older, I don't do the things I used to do, but I don't cut myself short. My body doesn't recover as fast. I remember times when I didn't get that much rest.
"I know I can make it. I just have to do the right amount of stuff. I made a lot of mistakes when I was young. I can't make them now. I take better care of myself."
There won't be much down time for Holyfield after this fight. He's scheduled to meet Brian Nielsen on March 5 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
"No pressure," Holyfield said. "I'll go out and do the best I can in this one. It's a harder game now, but I can recover for March. I believe I can."
Holyfield, who won the bronze medal as a light heavyweight in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, has fought and beaten a virtual Who's Who in the sport's heavyweight and cruiserweight divisions. He has wins over world champions Mike Tyson (twice), George Foreman, Larry Holmes, Riddick Bowe, Michael Moorer, Buster Douglas, John Ruiz (twice), Hasim Rahman, Chris Byrd, Pinklon Thomas, Michael Dokes, Dwight Muhammad Qawi (twice), and Carlos De Leon.
"Some are younger," Holyfield said. "They think they know something you don't know. You outwork them. That's how I stick with it.
"Forty years as a fighter. ... who's going to outthink me? You train one way. You have yourself ready."