Boxing legend Evander Holyfield stopped by ESPN’ First Take to promote this weekend’s heavyweight championship bout between Wladimir Klitschko and Bryant Jennings, but before he was able to get anywhere near that fight he had to dive into the whole Mayweather-Pacquiao thing.
As soon as Holyfield came onto the set he went up to the “First Take Fight Picks” board and… refused to choose. Oh boy, you would have thought he just set fire to the Mona Lisa! Such disappointment! When prodded about his non-prediction, Holyfield let them know that it was a waste of breath.
“What I say ain’t gonna have nothing to do with what’s gonna happen in the fight, and I realize that. It’s what those guys do that day that’s gonna make the difference… Both of them guys are capable of winnin.”
A prediction may not seem like a big deal to most of us, but this is “The Real Deal” we are talking about. This is the “blown up” cruiserweight that, at 210lbs, slayed giants on his way to becoming a 4-time World Heavyweight Champion. Of course Evander Holyfield thinks so little of predictions, he made an entire career out of defying them.
So, after he smacked down the talking heads on First Take, he was then asked about whether Mayweather and Pacquiao would be nervous before such a huge event. That is when one of boxing’s most confident ring warriors said confidently:
What!? Really? Holyfield went on…
“I don’t know what you callin nerves but your body kick up, your body kick up and all these things go in your mind. I would not even sleep almost half a night when the fight come. And I get up in the ring and say to myself ‘What in the world am I doin’ in here?’ then when the bell ring, I do well.”
For those that are too young to remember, Evander Holyfield is one of the bravest and ballsiest fighters that I have seen in my lifetime. Or in his estimation, he did “well”. His confidence and heart are legendary, and here he is saying that he got nervous and questioned himself before big fights? If this guy can be shaken, anyone can.
As Pacquiao and Mayweather make their way to the ring brimming with confidence, I’m going to remember what Holyfield said. I’m going to remind myself that these two seemingly superhuman fighters are just as overwhelmed as the rest of us are. What separates us from them is that they can overcome that feeling and perform to the highest standards, just like Evander Holyfield did so many times in the past.
You can see how little all of First Take’s little predictions matter live from The MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 2nd, 2015 when Mayweather and Pacquiao meet for what will end up being the biggest fight of all time.