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The Dartmouth
June 21, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Hail to the Champ

One week ago last Sunday, Mike Tyson, the epitome of brashness and supreme self-confidence, was thoroughly pummeled by Evander Holyfield. Mike Tyson, a man who had previously been knocked down once in his professional career, was beaten so badly that Referee Mitch Halpern had to stop the fight in the beginning of the 11th round. Mike Tyson, the biggest bully of them all, was bullied by a man with a heart condition.

Most people probably don't understand how remarkable Holyfield's win over Tyson was. Going into the fight, Holyfield had every possible thing going against him. Tyson was younger, stronger and quicker. Holyfield was fighting with an enlarged heart and an older and battle-worn body. He was a 9-to-1 underdog, and everyone, including myself, just hoped that he didn't get hurt.

However, two things held Evander Holyfield steadfast against Tyson's onslaught. The first of these was a renewed motivation to not only fight again, but to win. Mike Tyson has been Evander Holyfield's nemesis throughout his career. When Holyfield lost the Heavyweight championship to Michael Moorer in 1994, it was clear that his motivation and enthusiasm for the sport was gone. He was too old, too tired. However, when Tyson reentered the heavyweight ranks, Holyfield found that someone who could rejuvenate his excitement for boxing. Tyson was his motivation, and that was all he needed.

It wasn't because Holyfield hated Tyson, although a genuine dislike does clearly exist, but because Tyson had always held Holyfield out of the spotlight. While Tyson was incarcerated in Indiana for rape, Holyfield twice held the Heavyweight championship of the world, but to the critics and to himself, it didn't mean anything unless he beat Tyson. Holyfield missed the chance to fight Tyson before he had been sent to jail, and until early last Sunday morning, the image and presence of Mike Tyson had always loomed over Holyfield.

The second factor in Holyfield's victory was his undying Christian faith. "You can't choose against God," Holyfield said. "I did what it took to win. What the spirit leads me to do, I do." Holyfield's faith was evident from the moment he stepped into the arena. He was praying as he made his way into the ring. He was praying while he was in the ring. He was praying during the fight. He was praying in between rounds. And he was praying after the fight.

I'm not trying to say that God beat Tyson, but what I am trying to say is that for Evander Holyfield, early last Sunday morning, his immeasurable faith in God supplied him with the confidence and the desire to go out into the ring and stand up to the bully and beat him once and for all. After the fight, Holyfield quoted a Bible verse from the Book of Philippians, chapter 4, verse 13, which goes, "I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Holyfield truly believed in that, and it gave him the strength to do the unthinkable.