Wednesday, June 2, 2010


The following is a conversation with Evander Holyfield in the book, "Three Feet from Gold," by Sharon L. Lechter & Grey S. Reid.

“Okay, Evander, I have got to know—what makes you a better athlete than your competition?”

Holyfield could have dismissed this inquisitive stranger but instead offered an immediate reply: “A higher standard than anyone else.”

“It’s simple really. If you have a car and will not tolerate it being dirty or running badly, you will have a better car than your neighbor. If you see a home where the wife will not accept her husband coming home drunk or the kids being a mess, she will have a better family dynamic. Right?”

“The same applies to sports. I always worked out early, stayed late, and never lost sight of my dream. So much so that we would even come up with new ways to exercise that no one else had thought of. We did this because we had a higher standard than anyone else in the ring. ‘A standard of excellence,’ we called it. And that standard is that I believe allowed me to win a medal at the Olympics along with all the championship belts.”

Then he asked, “But didn’t it hurt getting hit all the time?”

Holyfield looked up and winked. “Look at this face!” Then he added, “I didn’t get hit that much. It’s like this—if you focus on the blows you are receiving, the only place you’ll end up is on your back. I never put much attention on the damage I was getting. I only focused on the damage I was inflicting.”

Greg’s eyes widened as he asked, “Are you saying you never felt the punches?”

“Sure, I felt them,” Holyfield said. “But I never lost my focus on the job at hand. That was to hit my opponent back… but even harder. The same applies to life in general. So many people focus on the hits coming their way. They watch the news that tells them how bad things are; they listen to their friends who are unhappy in life. In other words, they focus on how many blows they are taking, when, in fact, they should change their attention toward fighting back and staying on their toes.”