Evander Holyfield, one of two men to become a three-time world heavyweight boxing champion, has left the sweet science to the next generation. The 52-year-old remains involved in the sport, and is a primary focus of upcoming boxing documentary "Champs", which releases on video on demand and in select theaters tomorrow.
The film, directed by Bert Marcus, centers on boxing greats Holyfield, his 1990s rival Mike Tyson and the still-active Bernard Hopkins. It tells the story of their respective careers as well as touching upon social issues and sport-specific concerns such as fighters' pay.
amNewYork spoke with Holyfield about "Champs", his career and where boxing is headed.
Do boxers needs to unionize or ensure they are paid appropriately?
I think they should come up with some kind of formula. ... Allow people to keep what they make.
Is it possible to convince the big money draws to spread the wealth with the fighters on the undercard?
Boxing is an individual sport, and it's the price that people are paying for people to see them. If you're a good fighter, and you've got a good attitude, and a lot of things you do correctly, you're drawing a bit more than someone else.
When did you decide to make peace with Mike Tyson after the infamous "bite fight"?
Oh, that came about right after he bit me in the ear, and I prayed back then in the ring that God [would] forgive him. My peace started then by just saying "I forgive him."
What do you think of the upcoming Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao fight?
I think it's the perfect fight because both of the individual styles are totally different. And you've got one guy that's undefeated, and you've got one guy that's not and who had defeated a lot of undefeated people and his strategy is just as good as the other guy. One is lefthanded and one righthanded. I think that's the reason why they're paying them as much money as they're paying them -- because the fact of the matter [is] they don't know who [is] gonna win.
After Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, what is the next big fight that America will want to see?
When [Wladimir] Klitschko fights an American heavyweight, I think that will be the next big heavyweight. Just gotta make sure that our guys are prepared.
Can Deontay Wilder be America's next great heavyweight boxer?
Sure. For me he is WBC champion, and I'm sure that's got to be a megafight because the fact of the matter [is], as America we want that championship, we want all of that. ... He needs to work on some things that are going to allow him to be able to fight a guy who has pretty much the same style. It should be a great fight.
Can American heavyweights make a resurgence on the world scale?
Yes, we can, but it has to be orchestrated. We gotta start with the young kids. We gotta invest in our amateur program. ... America was real good back in the day when Howard Cosell and whoever invested in the amateur program on TV, which gave me the opportunity to come up with the goal to make the Olympic team.