They say genes run in the family. In the case of boxing legend Evander Holyfield, that’s exactly true with his two sons Elijah and Evan.
Elijah is currently trying out as a running back for the Carolina Panthers after getting picked up as an undrafted free agent in April.
While Evan is aiming to follow in his father’s footsteps by pursuing his boxing career.
Much to the delight of the Holyfield household, Evan made a winning start to life in the pro ranks with a 16-second KO over Nick Winstead.
The 22-year-old delivered a first-round stoppage on the undercard of Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Sergey Kovalev at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
However, there’s a long way to go if he wants to come close to his father’s achievements, who reached the pinnacle in two divisions.
‘The Real Deal’ continued his exclusive and extensive chat with WBN to offer both of his sons some advice.
Evander Holyfield’s sporting sons
“One of my sons [Evan], he fought on the Canelo card and 16 seconds, but it’s not about the time. It’s about the confidence you have to have.
“With my sons, I try to tell them the only way you can be better than me is doing what I do at take it to another level,” Holyfield exclusively told World Boxing News.
“One, I know how I got there, but I’d never been who I am if it wasn’t for my momma. You got so many people who like to tell you that you can never be better than your father.
“But the bible says you can go further because if you don’t make the mistakes you’ve made, then you don’t have to worry about that.
“If you don’t pick up the bad habits, I didn’t have a lot of bad habits, but he can be a good fighter because I didn’t have no money, I had nowhere to go, and all that I had was boxing.”
“I wasn’t very knowledgeable in books, so I told my momma I wanted to be the very best. She said, ‘Well, find something you can do very well, then’.
“You can fight better than some people and run better than some people, so all these things have something to do with confidence and stuff.
“These are the kind of things I had to work hard at.
“You had to be polite to people even though you’re strolling at people you hate, getting mad at people and wanting to fight some people.
“I find that boxing kinda calmed me down. You had the confidence of how you much you had to be to challenge your anger.
“You fight really well but you don’t get a chance to show up until you get into a fight, which made me make the Olympic Team, you know.
“To show that you’re the best fighter means you’ve got to represent your country, so you’ve got to be one of the 12 men that’s going to make the Olympic Team. I did that.
“It made me know how much discipline you had to have as a fighter. It taught me, in a way, to be able to respect what I had, so my boxing isn’t going to allow me to get in trouble because I’m a better fighter. I’m not going to take advantage of anybody.
“I’m not going to jump on anybody. All that discipline you need to have is not to beat yourself because this is the type of discipline you need to have not to take advantage of other people.
“My mom taught me that. It allowed me to have a great life and my kids to have a great life.”
With ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, and Riddick Bowe just some of the names on his resume, Holyfield is undoubtedly in a position to offer an opinion as to whether his son has the ingredients to become world champion.
Speaking about the pressures of fighting on the big stage, Holyfield concluded with some words of wisdom to Evan.
“Take one fight at a time. I said one day, you’ll be fighting for a championship.
“There’ll be 20,000 people screaming, howling for you, and at the end of the day, they’re paying you a lot of money.
“Canelo’s the first person I’ve ever seen get $35m other than me. I said now, little guys can make a lot of money.”