My interview with a world heavyweight boxing champion..!


MY phone rang as I drove home one night many years ago. It was from a newspaper I wrote for, “Would you like to interview Evander Holyfield, the boxer?” “Of course,” I said and images came to me of a badly bruised boxing heavy weight with a part of his ear in Tyson’s mouth.
His flight was late and as I sat in the hotel lobby, my mind went to pictures I had seen of world championships. Two men in a ring, more animal than human, glaring, eyeballing each other, moving around, their deadly, lethal fists ready to strike through opponent defense to score points or deliver murderous knock out. Fans screaming round ring, and millions screaming in front of television sets all the world over. Men excited, blow by blow, women swooning over brute muscle!
Holyfield had won the world boxing heavy weight title, a record four times! Even Muhammad Ali had won it only thrice. Unlike Ali though, Holyfield was no bragger. His was not to growl and snarl before the fight, with menacing words and terrifying threats, his was to meet the opponent in the ring and let his fists do the talking. His ear had been bitten off by Mike Tyson. But he’d forgiven Tyson for that bloody wound. He was called The Humble Warrior.
He walked in, slow, calm and self-assured. He signed the autograph books, he smiled, a tired smile. I noticed, there was not an inch of him that was not pure muscle. I followed him to his room. He lay down for a few moments, “May I ask you a question?” I asked. He smiled, “Where does your strength come from?” I asked.
The journalist from Reuters tried to ask another question but I saw him suddenly looking at me with interest, “I want to answer his question,” said Holyfield, pointing to me and smiling, “Yes, I believe, my strength comes from a God above!” “Thankyou,” I said, but Evander had not finished, ““It was tough at the beginning,” he continued, “to allow God’s muscle power to take over mine, but he gently took over and now I thank Him for giving me His strength!”
We talked awhile and later he got into one of the waiting cars and left. I waved to a great man and he waved back at me. I felt humbled. Here was a man, a muscle machine, relying not on himself to handle the world, but on a Divine Muscle above! That was a World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, and as I think of that interview my mind goes to you and me, are we still relying on our puny muscle power?
Do we still think of ourselves as ‘self-made‘ men and women? And as self-made men and women are you peering out wondering when the virus will pounce on you? “God took over,” said Evander Holyfield, “Now I rely on His strength..!”