Evander Holyfield on The Klitschkos: 'We Can Make $20 Million' Each
If Holyfield (43-10-2, 28 knockouts) gets beyond Williams (34-11-2, 19 KOs), he will next travel to Denmark for a scheduled March 5 bout against 45-year-old Brian Nielsen (64-2, 43 KOs) in Nielsen's native country. Holyfield is coming off of April's eighth-round knockout of 41-year-old Francois Botha (47-5-3, 28 KOs) at Las Vegas' Thomas and Mack Center, which made him the fringe WBF titlist.
Holyfied is trying to surpass George Foreman as the oldest fighter in the history of the sport to win a significant world title, following a then-45-year-old Foreman's knock out Michael Moorer in the 10th round on November 5, 1994, that made him the eldest man to win a heavyweight crown.
In this Q&A, Holyfield told FanHouse what he would say to convince either of the Ukranian sibling champions, Vitali Klitschko (41-2, 38 KOs), of the WBC, or, Wladimir Klitschko (55-3, 49 KOs), of the WBO, IBF and IBO, or England's WBA king David Haye (25-1, 23 KOs), to oppose him in the ring.
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FanHouse: If you could get the Klitschko brothers or David Haye in a room and talk to them man-to-man about fighting you, what would you say to them?
Evander Holyfield: With me, I'm just at the point where, you know, are they going to fight me or not? What is the reason that they wouldn't?
The art of the game is to make as much money as possible while you're the champion, in some form or fashion. With me, look at Mike Tyson. Think about that.
We were so important, Mike Tyson and I, that we were able to make $50 million in two fights. Other than you being a tough guy and you being the champion, shoot, how much money did you make while you were there?
I ain't never been mad with anybody that I fought, no more than I just want to win and to give all that I have to achieve that win. After all of that, the judges are going to make the decision any way. But the point is, that, how much money did we make?
I want them to understand the business that they're in. They're in the boxing business. They're heavyweight champion of the world.
But when it all comes down to it, it's going to be, 'How much money did you make?' during the process of doing something that you enjoy doing and doing it right.
With me, personally, it's not so much that I want to fight them. For what reason? Other than my goal is to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world and to have the belts.
My point in the matter is that it's nothing personal except that if I was already undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, I would have no other reason to fight them.
If that happens, then I've done all that I've set out to do. But if they're not going to fight me, then, somebody's going to have to knock them off before I stop boxing.
Do you believe that you will keep winning and they'll keep winning and that you will eventually force them to have to face you?
I think that eventually, I'll rise in the rankings. I'm not going to give up my belt to fight them. But the purpose and the thing is, me explaining to them, you know, shoot, I didn't want to fight George Foreman when I did.
Because my rationale was that I was 13 years younger than George and that he had had his day, so why would I want to fight him?
But when my manager let me know, you know, that it's all about money, it made sense. My manager was like, 'You could fight Mike Tyson.'
But he said that 'If you fight Mike Tyson first, then nobody's going to want to see you fight George Foreman.' But if you fight both of them, you could get a lot of money for fighting both of them.
So you make $22 million for fighting George Foreman, and then you can fight Mike Tyson $30 million. But if you fight Tyson first, then that $22 million is out the window.
Nobody's going to want to give you $22 million to see you beat somebody. The only reason they would want to see you fight George Foreman is because they don't think that you can beat George Foreman.
How much do you believe that a fight between you and either of the Klitschkos would make for you?
I think that we can at least make $20 million apiece. I believe that. I don't know if I would fight them in Germany. Why would you want to fight them in Germany?
You fight them in America and you'd get it right and you would get the pay per view. I think that Americans would pay the money to see them if they think that they're going to get whupped.
Do you think that their hesitancy in fighting you stems from your age or the idea that they could lose to you?
I like to think that they're using my age as an excuse because they think that I will win, but I don't know how those guys are thinking.
The biggest thing in life is that you fight the best people who are available, and you want to fight the guy who is marketable. Why fight some guy who is not going to bring anything to the table.
That's the best reason that they would have for fighting me, because, you know what? I bring something to the table. If the man can't bring you enough money, why would you want that legacy?
What good fighter didn't wind up having to fight somebody who is old? But with me, I want them to understand and not to get it confused.
I understand that the art of the game is boxing, but I know when people fight, they don't want to fight in vain. They don't want to fight somebody that they consider to be an old person.
They don't want it out there that maybe the only reason that they beat him was because he was old. But that's part of it, and they don't want any part of that.
How do you mean?
They don't want to hear people say, 'Well, you beat him, but look at how old he was.' Now, think about it if they would have fought a young Evander Holyfield?
The only difference is that what they have going for themselves is that, you know what? I didn't ever ask to fight them. I didn't ask to fight George Foreman either, George Foreman asked to fight me.
I didn't ask George Foreman to fight. So, my whole thing is it made sense to me, financially, and that's the only reason why I fought him. I made the money, George proved that he could hang with me.
He just didn't win, and I won just like I thought that I would. Did George Foreman fight a good fight? Yes he did. And, you know what? He got paid handsomely and I got paid handsomely.
So the idea is, 'Okay, you're a fighter.' Other than fighting, you know, do you have enough money for an entire lifetime? You don't know.
You can fight as many people as you want and defend the title as many times as you want, but your legacy can be based on how much money you were able to make at that given time, and I've made plenty of it.