Champs (2015) Movie Script

Every human
being that comes to this planet
has a fight.
The ultimate opponent
is actually truth.
The truth will wean
out everything else.
Fighting for your identity
or for who you are for real
is one of the hardest
things you have to do.
Boxing, I think,
is conquering not
only your opponent,
but yourself.
You've got to
transcend your fear
and reach deep down
to a part of you
that you may not
even know is there.
The heroic nature of boxing
is something that's undeniable.
There is skill,
there's expertise,
but there's always this
possibility of tremendous loss.
Boxing is just the anticipation.
It's one punch and
it's all over with.
A lucky punch can
turn a guy into a star.
And being caught
when he's not looking
could turn a star to
a shadow of himself.
Rich kids don't go into boxing.
Boxing is a way
out of the ghetto.
One minute, a boxer is
not getting anything.
The next minute, he's
signing a contract
for millions of dollars.
How do you handle that?
The sport itself,
there's a purity to it.
But the business
might be the most
unsanitized of all businesses.
Boxing is one of those
sports where the toughest
motherfuckers in the world are
letting some guys that couldn't
make it take advantage of them.
It's a reflection of our society
and your ability
to achieve dreams,
but it's also a reflection
of our society and the fact
that we are unquestionably
divided between the haves
and the have nots.
It's not an easy
way to make a living,
and it's the most
dangerous sport there is.
But that's the risk you take.
I'm the youngest of
nine in my family.
As you can see, a
black little boy.
Black and came from
people call it the ghetto.
My mother didn't read,
my father didn't read,
and so they were hard workers.
And that was my beginning.
When you live in
a project, people
throw their trash on the ground.
We were the family
that picked the trash
up and put it in the dumpster.
And people looked and
would laugh at us.
My mother said, you know,
you live in this environment.
You don't have to be like that.
Of course, people
had money and they
used their money
in the wrong way.
My mother didn't
buy clothes or toys.
She bought food.
She knew that this is what
we need to be able to live.
My upbringing, it was four
sisters, three brothers.
Coming out of Philadelphia
is a task itself,
especially in the inner
city called North Philly.
In the morning, we'd get
up to my mother saying, OK.
Get up, get ready for
school, this and that.
You had to ration out two cans
of pork and beans with six kids
and try to mix
other stuff in there
to call it something different.
Mom, it's the same
pork and beans.
It's just got other meats in
it that make it something else.
My father was one of the
guys that got up every day,
did what he had to do.
I never seen him sell
drugs, anything like that,
but I know that he used drugs.
I know that he drank.
So I had the two parent
structure in the house,
but it was a family
where we was tight,
but there were some
things that wasn't
as I would say a
normal family would be.
The worst characteristics
you could think of black life
is where I stem from.
A lot of drugs.
Tons of violence.
My parents sold women.
They were in the sex
industry and stuff.
That's what they did.
We weren't safe in the house.
We were always vulnerable.
A lot of men sleep with
my sister, beat me.
There was a pattern of
abuse that Mike experienced.
Bullies in the neighborhood
which routinely would pick
on him, but also Mike
was beaten by his mother.
His father was
pretty much absent.
My mother's very promiscuous.
It was just the way life was.
Everybody I knew had
just their mother at home
or their mother's boyfriend.
Nobody was ever with his father.
I don't know that world.
My whole world is just lost
kids with broken homes.
You know, forget poverty.
I don't care how much
money you get, or game.
Forget that.
Poverty hurts and leaves
an everlasting effect,
impression on you.
Poverty has its own
self perpetuating logic.
When you are strapped
for cash and you
need to survive
in the short term,
you start to adopt certain
practices that in the long term
end up preventing you from
taking advantage of all
the opportunities that
may be out there for you.
We came in on the
era where it really
got a little worse, where
nobody had anything.
You couldn't tease me about
my mother being on welfare
because your mother
was on welfare.
Childhood poverty oftentimes
leads to adult poverty, and
you get locked in these ruts.
So not only are these
worse environments,
but they find it much
harder to escape.
All these ills work together
to create very strong barriers
to upward mobility, and
very hard to still believe
the American dream is out there.
The American dream is something
that we're all proud of, we all
embrace, yet it's a
little bit dangerous.
America may be one of the
richest countries in the world,
but we also have
the largest pockets
of poverty in the
developed countries.
One in five children
in the United States
grows up in poverty.
America has, by far, the
most unequal distribution
of income and wealth
in the developed world.
Yet, the idea of the American
Dream is, in a sense,
what keeps the whole
system running.
I know what it is when people
move away from you because they
think that they're gonna
catch what you got.
They think they're gonna get
poor if they get to know you.
I was just always
searching for something.
I didn't like my
life at home, so I
wanted to have a
family somewhere else.
I tried to find a new family.
People that I hung around
was in the same
situation that I was in.
You went on like you
was going to school,
but in reality, we was in the
area, but not in the classroom.
We stayed around the school,
but not actually in the school.
And eventually, people do
find out, but after a while,
you get lost in the system.
When I went to school, they said
we wasn't gonna be anything.
They said, we're
gonna be statistics.
You're not articulate.
You don't know your ABCs
and the simple stuff.
And my mom always said, so
they read better than you.
Who's the fastest
in your school?
I said fastest at what?
She said, running.
Who run the fastest?
I outran everybody.
My mom says, there's things that
you do better than that person.
I said, but momma, they
don't talk about that.
Your day will come.
My goal wasn't to be the
president of the United States.
My goal was to be the
baddest guy that I can be.
We just basically
looked at school
as being no fun, no action,
and if you do catch us there,
it's gym where we get
to play basketball.
We could just do
things that we thought
was more important than
reading, and writing,
and science, and history.
I stopped going to school
because people were
kicking my ass.
I just walk around the
school 'til school is over
because I didn't wanna
get my ass kicked.
One day, these guys
came around me.
Three or four guys.
They pinned me up against
the wall and they say, hey.
Got any money?
I said, no.
So the guy says this.
He said, uh, do you
wanna fly with us?
And I didn't know him.
It's a kid, 10 or nine.
I'm saying, OK.
So I'm helping these
guys to this building.
This is like an
abandoned building.
And I see a box,
and it's pigeons.
And pigeons are flying.
I said, what the hell.
Now I know there's
a place to hang
out with birds and these guys.
So I said, OK.
I'd rather be there than be
in school and get bullied.
So I went back to the coop.
I said, need me to
do anything for you.
They said, yeah.
And he took me robbing houses.
And... Whoa.
And he didn't give
me much money,
but he bought me clothes.
He bought me clothes.
There are a
number of reasons, I think,
why he kind of
embraced the thug life.
One of which is, if you have
a community of people who
are watching your back, then
you're going to be protected.
And now he's buying the
coolest velour sweatsuits,
and he's buying ski goggles even
though he's never been anywhere
near a ski slope, and he's
buying the greatest kicks.
So now, status in
that environment
is who looks the coolest.
The role models that I've seen
was the people in the street.
The pimps, the number
writers, the hustlers.
They had the cars,
they had the jewelry,
they had all the things
that shine in your face.
As you grow up and
you grow up fast,
you get to know what they're
doing is not right, but got
them a lot of things and made
them live different or better
than every working class
person in the streets.
That's the situation
for a lot of young
people out there.
They could step off the
porch with all the values
in the world their mom gave
them and dad can give them.
When they step off that
porch into that den,
they've got to deal
with it accordingly.
You can go out there and turn
the other cheek if you want to.
All they're gonna do
is hit you in the head
and take that earring too.
So you had to adapt.
Those that adapt well become
predators out there themselves.
To me, it wasn't a hard choice.
I was the type of guy had no
conscience of value of my life
and repercussions of what I do.
When you think that
the value of your life
it's not that much
concern on your actions,
then that is a time
bomb waiting to blow.
Ain't no rules.
You don't get
disqualified for busting
a nigga over the
head with something.
When you get hurt
back, either your fear
consumes you or you
become a bit insensitive.
Either you gonna
be a punk, or you
gonna start to harden up a
little bit following that.
However you handle yourself,
you make it clear to people
that you don't have
a problem with it.
Matter of fact, make them
feel like you want the shit.
In an environment that I
grew up in, which was animal,
which was survival of the
fittest, which was do or die,
you have to be strategic.
Very few of us
grow up in fear,
because we live in this,
and we're taught early
we can't be afraid of it.
Whenever we're confronted with
an obstacle in the streets
of a physical nature, the
first thing we think of
is how to dissect the obstacle.
My dream started
off with a coach
told me I could be the
heavyweight champion
of the world.
And I asked him, what was it.
And he said, Muhammad Ali.
He said, do you
know Muhammad Ali.
I said, yeah.
And he said, you could
be just like that.
First goal was to be
the Boys Club champ.
I wanted to be great, because
I already know how it feels not
to be great, because
I grew up in it.
In one fight, I became
the Boys Club champ.
Every year, I would
win the tournament.
interesting in that it's
an escape from the
violence and poverty
of many American
neighborhoods, but you're
escaping through
violence itself.
People who fight
fight their way out
of something, whether it's
poverty, whether it's jail.
Rich kids don't fight.
Why the fuck would
a rich kid fight?
Poor kids fight.
You want to fight your
way to a different place.
Boxing gives you a chance
to literally fight
your way through it.
Boxers succeed based
on their own work.
If you keep winning, and you
keep succeeding, chances are,
eventually, you're going
to get an opportunity.
Boxing is
the ultimate representation
of the American dream.
It allows someone who came from
nothing to achieve greatness.
It's about his
talent, his own skill,
and his own determination.
Boxing is such a special sport.
I think most people
don't choose boxing.
I think boxing chooses them.
Disadvantaged childhood,
less fortunate kids
in tough communities.
And we grew up boxing
at the Boys Club.
We were able to go there
and we had somebody
who cared about us, who wanted
to take us off the streets
and give us something to do.
If you look at the history
of boxing over time,
you'll see some of the
cultures and ethnicities that
have suffered the
most have always
produced the greatest champions.
Boxing both attracts and preys
upon talent from
disadvantaged communities.
And it's almost like you
can read a chart of history
of disadvantage, in the United
States, at least, of which
groups are struggling to make it
and then which groups have made
it when they disappear,
really, from the boxing scene.
Especially in America where
you had the immigrants.
You had the Jewish
boxers, the Irish boxers,
the Italian American boxers,
African American boxers.
Now it's, I would
say, predominantly
Hispanic boxers now.
There's a certain generation
with Mike, and
Evander, and Bernard.
Black kids who
were disadvantaged
and saw boxing as a way out.
I lived
in an all black neighborhood
and everybody said white
boys couldn't fight.
And that's my first time
experiencing that people tell
you lies, because that kid was
white and he beat me twice.
I told the coach that I quit.
Told him I didn't want to fight
anymore, because I didn't think
you could actually be
a champion if you lost.
So I went home told my momma
I lost, and I told her I quit.
And she told me something that
has impacted my life even now.
She said, son.
Everything is not gonna
always go your way.
If you quit, you'll never
reach your destination.
She said, what is
your destination.
I said, be the heavyweight
champion of the world.
Of course, I went back
and I finally beat him,
and that fight kind of changed
my whole aspect about winning.
I kept getting
in trouble with the law.
One particular time,
I got in trouble
and I went upstate New York.
I had a reputation as
a troublemaker there.
I had to be locked
down most of the time.
I couldn't go outside
with the rest of the kids.
Weekends, I would see
guys go on the other side.
And I would say,
what's going on,
because I would see
guys coming back,
swollen eyes, busted
nose, busted lips.
The most interesting thing about
it is that they were happy.
When they would come
back, they're all beat up,
but they're happy.
And I would say, what's
going on over there.
And they said, Mr. Stewart
is boxing with the inmates.
Mr. Stewart is probably 160
pounds, white Irish guy.
I never fought before
with gloves on,
but I just knew I could beat
Mr. Stewart's white ass.
I just knew I could beat him.
I'm just flaring away, and
he had hit me in my stomach,
and I had went
down, and I started
throwing up everything
I ate for two days.
Just blech.
So I asked him to
start teaching me.
He wouldn't teach
me unless I started
behaving around the facilities.
And once I made my honor
rolls and started doing well
in school, he started
teaching me how to box.
Bobby Stewart immediately
saw the potential in Mike,
and Bobby said, if you're
serious about this,
I'll take you to see
this old guy in Catskill.
Soon as Cus D'Amato saw me spar,
he was planning my
life out for me.
First day he met me.
Cus was a kind of gruff guy.
He didn't display any emotion.
At the end of this session,
Cus turned to Bobby and said,
this guy's going to be the
future heavyweight champion
of the world.
At that time, I was
about to be paroled back to New
York, and he didn't want me
to go back because he believed
I would get in trouble,
I'd get killed.
He asked me would I be
interested in staying with him.
And I said, why, sure.
I didn't want to go back to the
disgusting, wretched tenements
that we lived in.
This guy had a wonderful
like 14 room mansion.
Roses and stuff.
I never saw that stuff.
For the
beginning of that period,
Mike was still
living in two worlds.
While he was in
Brownsville, he'd
fall in with his old
friends and they'd
go out and start jostling.
Mike's first street
mentor, this guy
Barqueem, I think they
saw some pictures of Mike
with Cus and with Camille, and
they looked, and he said, man.
Mike, these white people.
It looks like they love you.
And Mike said, yeah, yeah.
They love me.
And he goes... Barqueem says,
what are you doing here, man.
If I had white
people that loved me,
I wouldn't stick around here.
And everybody in
the neighborhood
is telling Mike, go.
Get out of here.
At least 30% of all the families
in Brownsville at that time
had no father figures.
I think when we look at boxing,
we see a number
of men who grew up
without a father in the home.
But what's key is, they
grew up in circumstances
where the family was redefined.
The trainers became part of
this larger extended family.
Cus would tell
Mike that he was a colossus.
He was a titan.
And he's telling him this
and building up his ego
to a person who has
absolutely no self esteem.
So it's a very tricky situation.
I heard about this heavy weight
that they were saying,
this guy is dangerous.
He's from Cus D'Amato's camp and
he was trained by Kevin Rooney.
When I finally seen
him, I was like, man.
He was like... He was
going through fighters
like a hot knife on butter.
From that moment on,
we knew he was special.
North Philly
was known for a lot of fighters
back in the '60s,
'70s, and in the '80s.
I got introduced to the
amateurs, and I had the talent,
I had the skills.
But then as time
went on, eventually I
started getting respect
as a street fighter
and I shot away from boxing.
Every time I got stabbed,
which was more than once, crazy
as it might seem, it gave
more stock to who you are.
In 1984, I was put in
jail for taking money.
At that time, I
blamed the system
for everything, even
for my ignorance.
That same year, my brother
got in a fight and the guy
pulled a gun out.
He tried to run.
He got shot.
They couldn't find him because
he ran down the street,
and when they found him, he
was laying across the grass.
So can you imagine my mom?
It had to be hard on
her to bury one son
and then get to see me being
escorted by the sheriff's
department from prison
to view the body
and then go back to prison.
So basically, she lost two sons.
So 1984 was a really
challenging year.
1984, Mike and myself,
we were both trying to
make the Olympic team.
There was a big emphasis
placed back then,
especially on the idea of
your amateur experience
and this Olympic experience.
It was very much a
place where your worth
was going to be determined.
Holyfield and Tyson
got an early taste
of what the other was
about at the Olympics.
That's when I got a
chance to see him train.
I'm one of the guys who kind of
prides myself on working hard.
And when I worked
in the gym with him
and I'd seen all the things that
he would do, I was just amazed.
I was like, god, you know?
17 years old.
He's just a kid, man.
He's the only person
in a gym that I
can admit that I worked with.
I didn't think nobody
was gonna beat him.
Mike unfortunately lost to
a guy named Henry Tillman.
Didn't make the Olympic team.
He was voted as an alternate.
I went to the Olympic trials.
I didn't make the Olympics,
but the experience
in going to the Olympics
was just incredible.
Evander Holyfield, he was
just very competitive,
because he was just very hungry.
Very hungry fighter.
And he fought.
It reminded me of me.
He was gonna win the
most outstanding fight,
I thought, because he was
knocking out everybody.
He was beating everybody easily.
Evander Holyfield,
United States of America.
Kevin Barry, New Zealand.
Holyfield came into
the competition
the unknown American,
but he's known now,
and he's only 21 years old.
Look at Holyfield.
He's ready.
He's got the
opponent hurt again.
He's ready to put him away.
Even though there's
no blood there.
Oh, there it goes.
You saw that.
It was inevitable.
Now wait a minute.
Evander launches
a lethal hook that drops Barry,
and everybody thinks, OK.
Fight's over.
Move on.
All of a sudden, the referee
starts motioning to the judges.
He starts motioning
to Evander, and nobody
knows exactly what's going on.
He is going to
disqualify Evander Holyfield.
He makes the announcement
that Evander is disqualified for
hitting after he called stop.
Nobody really heard
the referee say stop.
All they saw was
Evander drop the guy.
Holyfield got screwed royally.
He shouldn't have been
disqualified against Barry.
It was a joke.
Holyfield in
total command of the fight.
And I just don't
understand this ruling.
Look at Holyfield's face.
What an untoward development.
Very conscious.
Controlling the anger.
Controlling the tongue.
I sit there and took it.
Howard Cosell made
me bigger than life.
This is unbelievable.
Holyfield holding
himself together.
A raging controversy
had reared its ugly head.
Bill Simon, the president of the
Los Angeles Olympic Committee
has gotten involved.
It really is a full
blown controversy.
He wanted that gold medal,
but by responding to it the
way he did, not complaining,
showing a lot of
grace, he probably
emerged from that Olympics
as the most well known
of all those boxers,
even the ones
that had won the gold medal.
That became his launching pad
was the Olympics, while Mike
had to begin his pro
career in obscurity.
Cus got me into thinking
about the great fighters.
And every time I failed, I'd
go read about their failures
and how they overcame
their failures.
Mike had a very high
skill set, and he
had a profound understanding
of boxing and boxing history.
And that's what
made him special.
When he
wanted to know something,
he'd sit there and watch
numerous fights of guys
from the '50s, and
'40s, and '30s.
He's like a boxing encyclopedia.
What's the difference
between a good fighter
and the great fighter?
It's how far they're
willing to go
and how much they're
willing to endure.
It's the hunger for the world.
You want to be that champion.
Once you get to know Mike,
you know he was a very insecure
human being and very insecure
fighter, so a lot of that tough
guy image and a lot of the talk
and the brashness was basically
to hide his own insecurities.
Every time he went
in the ring, he was scared.
It wasn't like he just
knew he was gonna win.
But Mike also knew, when he
looked in that opponent's eye,
he'd seen fear.
Scared as I was fighting,
I realized these guys
were more afraid of me
than I was of them, and that's
when my whole game started
changing as far as my
approach to fighting.
Left hand almost drove
Richardson right
through the canvas.
I'd get all his
early fights on ESPN
and he knocked everybody out in
the first three second round.
So you looked at
it and said wow.
Anybody that wants to stay in
the business for a long period
of time, like myself, I
plan on staying in boxing.
I would like to box for
at least a good 20 years,
because I love the game.
You took care of
business tonight.
Congratulations, Mike.
Thank you, very much.
I studied every
fight that Mike fought
and told everybody, be quiet.
I'm watching.
Well, you know,
because my whole thing,
I realized that was going to be
the toughest fight in my life
if it happened.
This is the guy that
I've got to face one day.
In prison, you have
a lot of energy
that's bottled up.
From one way or the other,
love it, don't love it,
agree to disagree, it
has to be released.
After getting in a few fights, I
built a reputation on the block
like I was building
on the streets.
I was known, don't fight me.
You've got to stab me.
At home, you can hide,
but in those institutions,
you have to see these people
every day you wake up.
Someone is plotting
for that vulnerability.
You gotta meet your
fears every day.
Things going through my
head was that I'd be dead
before I hit 18, or I'd
be in prison all my life,
or that I'd be nothing.
As I got more mature in
jail and I started watching
other people, I started
saying to myself,
what's wrong with
this situation.
I had to stop being ignorant.
I started doing research.
I seen something to me
that really woke me up.
Prison is a business.
It's 50, it's $60,000
a year for one inmate.
How can I keep myself from being
an employee of this business?
Oftentimes, the
real problem with prison
is this stultifying boredom.
There's mountains of evidence
that the supermax prisons where
you're in a cell by
yourself 23 hours a day,
they literally
drive people insane.
The people who leave
are substantially
mentally harmed
by the experience.
It's just not what we as
humans are designed to handle.
I think that thing that
gives you something to do,
to hold on to, can be a very
powerful means of getting
yourself through the
mind numbing tedium.
They had an old gym with a ring,
with gloves, with sparring,
and Smokey Wilson, AKA Michael
Wilson, continued to say,
come on to the gym, man.
Come on to the gym.
Stop fighting on the black
or you gonna go in the hole,
or you gonna get
stabbed, or this an that.
So, all right, man.
All right, yeah.
I'll go to the gym.
And I sparred with one of
the known, respected guys.
I didn't knock him out, but
I gave him a boxing lesson.
And Smokey Wilson
became my trainer.
I got a chance to get back
into what I've deviated from
and used it to my advantage
in the penitentiary.
It came to a thing where now, in
prison, you bet on each other.
And I'm getting this reputation
because now, the block,
the jail was buzzing.
I became the celebrity
boxer in a penitentiary.
The boxing program
was established
in 38 penitentiaries, from
Philadelphia to Pittsburgh.
And so we had boxing
tournaments in jail.
In, Rockview,
Dallas, Graterford, Smithville,
We, on buses, escorted
by guard with shot guns
from one prison to another.
I'm beating everybody
in every penitentiary,
and I become the middleweight
State Penitentiary champion.
I fell back in love
with boxing again.
Boxing is the sport
which all others aspire to be.
It's you and another guy,
and who wants it more,
and who's got the heart, and
the will, and the desire,
but it comes down to
a lot more than that.
The best
combat is man against man.
I mean, since Roman
times, the gladiators.
It's human nature for people
to compete against each other.
Sometimes I feel
so guilty I'm a boxing fan.
I know on one level,
I'm not supposed
to really be enjoying
what I'm watching.
And yet on another, I
can't control myself.
We're violent.
We're animals.
Like any other animal,
there's a release
of aggression that
comes with fighting.
There's a drama to it.
Boxing is theater.
If it's not theater, you're
fucking up in presenting it.
To be ringside, you're like wow.
This is amazing.
The part for me that
stuck was, people
are literally fighting
for their lives.
They're fighting
for their families.
That's the thing
that attracted me.
It's an ancient, brutal,
some would say barbaric sport,
but there's something
very interesting
about the individuals who choose
to try to perform at that level
and risk what they
risk in the ring.
It's raw.
It's something that appeals
to our basic instincts
of survival or battle.
Nobody else is going
in there with you.
You can't call timeout.
It's like having
a fight with blood.
A fighter doesn't care
who his opponent is.
He my weight?
Bring him.
It's a different mentality.
They're a different breed.
Fighters know what they
have to sacrifice and give
up to try to perfect their game.
A fighter learns from
walking through the fire.
Dwight Muhammad
Qawi and Evander Holyfield
in their WBA Junior
Heavyweight Title fight.
And of course, you
remember Holyfield
with the controversial
bronze medal
at the Olympic games
in Los Angeles.
Since then, 11
successful pro bouts.
Is 11 enough for going
up against someone
of the experience of Qawi.
The bell rings and
this is round one.
And one of
Evander's biggest challenges
here is going to be overcoming
the psychological barrier
of going 15 rounds
for the first time.
Just keeping your
hands up for three minutes
and moving around the ring is
tremendous exertion physically.
But running around for 15
rounds, three minutes a round,
throwing punches at a guy who's
trying to hurt you, and getting
hit while it's all going on,
there's just nothing like it.
Holyfield is going for it.
He doesn't wanna go 15 rounds.
He's only in round three and
he's using so much energy.
Qawi breathing very heavily,
but he is relentless.
A left and a right
combination again.
Boy, that combo has
worked well for Holyfield,
but now a big left right
left coming back from Qawi.
Holyfield, back against
the ropes and sliding away.
Qawi's slipping an awful
lot of those punches out.
He missed about 10
consecutive punches.
Qawi got underneath almost
every punch from Holyfield
and came back and landed
punches of his own.
You saw the smiling shrug.
And that is
demoralizing to Evander.
He built up some
energy for a flurry
and he got nothing out of it.
Just watching
these two go at it,
there's no way that I could
imagine this one going 15.
Whatever I hit him with,
that guy never stopped coming.
Now we're really going
to get to see what kind of
shape Evander Holyfield is in.
He's only been to eight
rounds once in his career.
Evander Holyfield started
this fight very fast.
Won the first round in
convincing and impressive
But the grabs have gotten
closer and closer since then.
Perspiration flying off the face
of Holyfield as Qawi gets in.
And he looks a little
slower and slower
as this fight moves along.
somebody's breathing on you,
and they have the right to hit
you just as the right you have
to hit them, they become
the toughest thing.
A right left,
right left combo to Holyfield!
Holyfield is staggering!
He's gotta be
feeling hurt right now!
This is just trench warfare.
Right now, Dwight
Qawi is winning it.
The question is, who's
gonna get their
second wind first?
And just like somebody putting
a mask over your head and put
your hands behind your back
and throw you out into
the middle of the ocean,
that's how tough this fight was.
Round 11 Evander
Holyfield's never gone this far
in his professional career,
or in his career period.
Goes for the head, and
a big, powerful right,
the likes of which
we haven't seen
from Holyfield in a few rounds.
I'm a little bit
surprised that Evander has been
able to hang in there
as well as he did.
He tired a little bit,
but he's come back
and he's very much in the fight.
Qawi's eyes are blood red.
He has taken numerous shots.
Breathing very, very heavily.
Bloody in the mouth.
Evander has a tremendous heart.
It's a burning intensity.
As these two
try to chip away and chip
away at the stamina
of each other.
Both men showing
unbelievable courage
and determination.
I lost 15 pounds in that fight.
They were talking about
my kidneys were messed up.
All I wanted to do is not die.
Holyfield's eyes have that fire.
He is officially
a professional fighter.
He can go these 14, and he will
be able to go the 15 rounds.
Dwight Muhammad
Qawi who yesterday called
Evander Holyfield
mediocre would not
be saying that to us right now.
And there's the final bell!
I didn't die.
I made it to the
land, and then they
gave me a bonus by
giving me the belt.
For the winner and
new junior heavyweight champion
of the world, Evander Holyfield!
After that, I was
the light heavyweight champion.
But my goal.
I never forgot it.
My goal was to be the
heavyweight champion
of the world.
Evander Holyfield started
as light heavyweight, which
is, you know, kinda
like being the vice
president of the United States.
It's... It's not... You don't
get a lot of attention.
When you talk about
boxing, for most people,
you're talking about the
heavyweight division.
The heavyweight champion
of the world is an icon.
This is the event of the night.
The WBC championship
of the world.
In the blue corner, with 27
wins, no defeats, 25 KOs,
he is the challenger,
Mike Tyson!
And in the red corner, he is
the WBC heavyweight champion
of the world, Trevor Berbick.
Any questions from
the challenger or chief second?
No, we're cool.
Any question the
champion or chief second?
All right, let's get it on!
- Come on.
- All right.
And with the word of
Mills Lane, we're ready.
I don't know about you folks,
but here at the Hilton Hotel,
there is electricity
in the crowd.
Mike Tyson has trained
his whole life for this.
And let's watch how quick Tyson
will jump on Trevor Berbick.
You get the idea
now that Berbick
is showing a little
bravado here.
And Tyson clubs him
with the left hand.
Look at this!
And Berbick ready to go,
but he stays on his feet.
Another right hand clips him.
He can't take shots
like this very long.
And he gets, and he's done!
As he stands right
up, the count's
to four, and five,
and six, and seven,
and eight, and he says he's OK.
All right?
Mills Lane let's them continue.
In comes Tyson again.
He knows he can
hurt him any time.
Catches him with a right
left hook, and he goes down!
He goes down!
He should be able
to get up from this.
His legs maybe shot.
They are!
As Trevor Berbick falls
back in the ropes,
I don't know if he's
gonna be able to continue!
He's got the heart,
but his body won't
let him do what
his mind wants to.
And he's counted out.
It's all over.
We've got a brand new
heavyweight champion
of the world.
Mike Tyson!
That was the most
exciting moment of my life.
People patting me on the back
and saying, wow, you're great.
I never saw anybody
like you before.
It was incredible.
How am I gonna articulate this?
All I did about being
the champion and stuff,
this is very serious,
since I was 13.
This isn't be like,
hey, we're gonna
box and get some trophies, guys.
Our purpose is to win and
win in spectacular fashion.
Mike did something special.
He convinced me that no man
on the planet could beat him.
You could get up and
go to the bathroom,
come back, the
fucking fight over.
Mike got a bad rep in the sense
that people concentrated
on intimidation.
The only way you're
intimidated is
because you seen
him do something.
When you see somebody
knock out 22 other people,
yeah, the 23rd guy may
be a little intimidated.
He was
unstoppable force of nature.
I mean, I still in my head
have visions of Welcome
to the Terrordome being
played where Tyson was walking
into the ring twitching
with no socks on,
and the guy standing
in the ring looked
like he was shitting his pants.
Don King told him, every
time that you knock somebody
out in the first round, I
give you $100,000 in cash.
And he's down again.
He's not going to make it.
It's all over.
First big fight
I went to was a Tyson fight,
and there was nothing
more exciting than that.
He put on a show.
When the lights came on, Mike
just knew, this is my moment.
Everybody's watching
me right now.
It was crazy in there.
Just great energy.
Unbelievable energy.
Every time we'd get
home, Mike said, well who came?
How did they look like?
He just wanted to know,
what was the crowd like.
And it's hard to
explain it to him.
You see Eddie Murphy,
you see Donald Trump.
You see so many big
people in the audience.
Like, if you was in that
front three or four rows,
you were somebody.
Tyson was superhuman.
He represented our culture.
He represented who we were.
Mike Tyson was a phenom.
Everybody heard about him.
Mike Tyson represents in the
community the American dream,
that anybody can make it if
they have the determination.
Cus put me in the mindset
that there's no
room for everybody.
I need to suck all the air.
I need to reign with gods.
Do you ever
stop to think about money?
The stage
of thinking about money
is far gone.
I don't have to worry
about that no more.
I'm just having fun.
They were able to sell
Mike Tyson very effectively.
He delivered, of course, because
he scored all these knock outs,
and you got this
feeling of caged fury.
In our era, what would boxing
have been without Mike Tyson?
Could you say it would've
been this exciting?
After Ali, people
stopped liking boxing.
It don't bother me to say
that I was in the right time,
with Tyson.
That's when the fire came
back in the game of boxing.
When Tyson came in the game,
boxing became one
of the most popular,
if not the popular sport
outside the walls of Graterford.
We used to watch fights on ABC.
We used to watch fights on ESPN.
Alexis Arguello and the
fighters that was hot.
And I'm like, yo.
I can beat these guys.
For myself to come out and be
paroled to a halfway house,
I said to myself, I
gotta make boxing work.
I knew that this is the only
thing that I had to gamble.
Most guys go back when
you're in that situation.
When they lock you up
when you're like 17,
and you get out when
you're like 23, 24,
now you're thrown
into the adult world
with no job skills, nothing
but a record on your back.
Plus, little guy you
seen on your block,
he comes past you in a brand
new car with a gold chain
big enough for you to
see your reflection in.
That's hard to deal with.
When you go away, if you come
back into the same environment,
around the same circumstances,
around the same people
that you're comfortable
making these decisions around,
and you have influences that
make things easy for you to be
in a bad situation,
temptation is great.
It's the same if you're trying
not to be involved with drugs.
Because of its low price,
crack permeates the country,
especially the inner cities.
When the crack came into
and flooded the streets,
it was just hard to say no.
The crack era
affected everybody.
If you lived in that
area where they sold it,
you were going to be involved.
You're looking at
your environment
and no one's helping you.
No one's doing anything.
Just feeding you the drugs,
feeding you the alcohol,
feeding you the
negative comments.
They're doing exactly what
was done to you as a child,
so you have to shift and
change your environment.
Do something.
Change something.
Bernard to not violate parole
during that era, during that
time, was the most impressive
to me.
He dealt with it, he came home,
he was able to move forward.
He realized it wasn't
the life for him.
He was gonna make sure it
wouldn't happen to him.
How can I beat the system?
I fought.
I worked.
I worked in a kitchen.
I worked on landscaping.
I did roofing.
I found some new people.
Those new people
got me into boxing
as far as on the business side.
I was the only fighter
to my knowledge
to take a team of trainers
and go to Graterford,
and train and use that
environment to remind me
where I came from.
I think it
speaks volumes about Bernard
and how he looks at life
that he went back to prison
with his team, looked at
the situation, and know,
this is what I do not
want to fall back into.
There were athletes
who came along
who had better
talent than Bernard.
There were athletes
who came along
who had better positions,
better situations.
His discipline
has set him apart.
And the new IBF middleweight
champion of the world,
Barnard Hopkins!
I won my first title in 1994.
From there, I went on to defend
the middleweight championship
for 11 years.
Oscar de la Hoya is knocked out
by a left hook to the
liver by Bernard Hopkins.
Bernard Hopkins
is our Ray Robinson of this era.
Those guys were cut
from a different cloth.
The ones who could sustain.
Tonight you
have witnessed history.
Boxing's ageless warrior.
Bernard Hopkins!
He became the oldest fighter to
win a world title, at an age 48
when it's almost impossible to
imagine a fighter doing this.
Bernard walked and kept
that middleweight weight
for 20 title defenses.
20 title defenses.
That's gonna be a
hard record to break.
He's just always represented
a hungry fighter that's
dedicated and put
in a lot of work.
You can just tell he didn't
get anything handed to him.
Bernard Hopkins, to me,
is a testament to the fact
that anyone can
reshape their thinking,
can reshape their
life, and continue
to live that reshaped life.
The Bernard Hopkins that
I've known all these years
and the man who
resurrected his life
is an absolute pillar
of self discipline.
What saved me was knowing
that I can do this, and to be
able to do this
in a penitentiary.
Those stages are
critical, for me.
To be able to come
through that era
and come through that
time with the scars,
but I used it to motivate
me in a different way.
It took time to get there.
Bernard Hopkins is very
lucky to have boxing
and to capitalize on it.
He had it, and then he
took advantage of it.
People who don't have those
options, it gets very bleak.
We've cut back on a lot of
the educational options,
we've cut back on a
lot of the facilities,
we've cut back on
time out in the yard.
We've cut back on spots.
Energized inmates
use their energy in
the right direction
by going to the boxing circle.
It releases energy
that won't be released
on authority or
on other inmates.
Those kinds of
programs are no longer
available in today's prisons.
Today's prisons are
more about punishment
rather than recognizing the
mistakes individuals may have
made and helping
them grow from them.
Sometimes we
completely perverse things.
In New York state, at least,
the single most popular training
program in prison
is barber school.
So you have thousands
of men training
to be barbers in prison.
It's actually giving them a job
to do while they're in prison,
providing actually
a useful skill
they can use on
the outside, only
they're not allowed
to use it at all.
People on parole,
ex-felons, can't be barbers.
Blanket ban for licensing.
Once you get into that system,
we're actually setting you up
even more to fail down the line.
They just keep making
it tougher and tougher,
and then shaking their heads in
disappointment when they fail,
and making it tougher still.
Angela Davis describes prisons
as this place where
we don't make problems
disappear, we make
people disappear.
We want to think of ourselves
as never making mistakes,
and so when confronted with
individuals who make mistakes,
we're forced to
look in the mirror.
Muhammad Ali in his prime
was served by his character.
Mike Tyson didn't
have that character.
He had tremendous ferocity,
tremendous ability, god given
strength, but the
people around him
weren't encouraging him
to develop character.
They were enabling him, in a
lot of ways, to destroy himself.
His only real mentors
were his managers
and his trainers.
They weren't really
trying to teach him
a lot of social skills other
than how to deal with media.
People treat you
differently when you're famous.
Fame really distorts your
own perception of yourself.
Just think.
Anybody in this
planet with 6 billion
people... 6 billion right?
Anybody in this
planet, you could
beat them in a fair fight.
You tell me how
that'd feed your ego.
He starts buying all
these incredible sports cars.
He buys Bentleys, he
buys Rolls Royces,
and he starts buying
these mansions,
and of course, it's
conspicuous consumption.
He's showing the world,
look how far he's come.
My life only
existed through accomplishments.
You win this, you get this car.
You when this, you get this.
You win this, you get that.
And you have that much money,
everything's possible.
The media
was creating this image,
but Mike was helping
them with the image
that he was just a
savage, a wild man.
I'll fuck you in
your ass, you punk white boy.
I'll eat your asshole
alive, you bitch.
I became a megalomaniac.
I thought I was a god.
If you were old enough, you
may have seen some of my fights
and some of the things
I said to people
or said about myself as some
kind of demigod or something.
I'm a tyrannosaurus, man.
I'm a tyrannical titan.
I'm the best ever.
There's never been
anybody as ruthless.
That's just the
way I was trained
to fight to have that
kind of belief system.
We all heard those stories of
people that have had nothing
and then had it all and
didn't know how to handle it.
It's one thing to be able to
have that drive and that desire
to become a champion,
but to stay hungry
when you have that success,
it becomes that much harder.
We think of him
as this monster with huge power.
And he did have power, but Mike
Tyson was a small heavyweight
who needed to fight
well to be effective.
A Mike Tyson that isn't
perfectly conditioned,
and a Mike Tyson that isn't
fighting the right style,
he's beatable.
Please welcome the challenger,
James Buster Douglas!
No one expected Mike
Tyson to lose to Buster Douglas.
The odds were astronomical.
the undefeated, undisputed
heavyweight champion
of the world.
The one and only
iron Mike Tyson!
It was in Japan,
and most news organizations
didn't even send anybody
to cover the fight.
What are we about to see?
Another 90 second annihilation
of an ill prepared opponent?
Well, in the important
game of expectations,
this fight is over before it
begins or soon thereafter.
You have to remember
that just nobody believes
anybody can compete
with Mike Tyson.
And there, of
course, is Evander Holyfield
who has a guarantee
of $12 million
to fight Mike Tyson in June.
Everyone was looking forward
to Mike Tyson fighting
Evander Holyfield.
I watched the
Douglas Tyson fight
with Donald Trump
and his executives.
They were expecting
that Tyson Holyfield
fight to be on one
of their properties
and would be a major
event for them.
Mike went
kicking and screaming to Tokyo.
He thought, I knocked out guys
that beat Buster Douglas, so
why do I have to train
for Buster Douglas.
So he got there and
he didn't train.
And he instead enjoyed all the
fruits of young Japanese women
Buster had nothing to lose,
and he was training
his heart out.
Evander saw this
and he knew trouble
might be on the horizon.
Douglas is getting
Mike Tyson to reach in.
When you reach in,
that's what happens.
That's a good
right hand, and a good right
uppercut, and two more
good rights by Douglas.
I don't think I've ever
seen Tyson absorb that kind
of a four or five
punch combination
before in his
professional career.
And he has swelled
up Mike Tyson's eye
and is dominating
the fight right now.
It was a
perfect storm of events.
It was Mike Tyson not taking
Buster Douglas as seriously
as he should have,
and it was Buster
Douglas preparing
himself correctly.
Brawling willingly just
to try to get in the shot
that will finish things.
Oh, the uppercut!
What an uppercut by
Douglas, and down goes Tyson!
Down goes Tyson.
Two, three, four, five,
six, seven, eight, nine!
Well, it... It's over!
It's over!
Mike Tyson has been knocked out!
There are a lot of lessons
fighters learn the hard way.
Every fighter comes
to know the fact
that this is an
unforgiving sport.
And suddenly, Mike Tyson
has been reduced to being
another heavyweight champion
who got defeated.
There's no other sport where
you can rise and
fall so quickly.
When I
became the heavyweight champion
of the world for the first
time with Buster Douglas,
people hated the fact.
Holyfield... right
hand stuns Douglas!
Caught him going in!
He is not going to get up.
There goes the heavyweight
championship of the world!
Evander Holyfield
with a third round knock out!
They said,
you can't get no credibility.
Man, you still ain't the champ.
You ain't beat Tyson.
An Indiana
grand jury has indicted
former heavyweight
boxing champ Mike Tyson.
He is charged with
raping a woman who
was a contestant
in this summer's
Miss Black America pageant.
Within the past hour, the jury
has returned for indictments.
One for rape, two charges
of criminal deviant conduct,
and one charge of confinement.
If I was in here for something
that I did, it would be easier,
but just the fact that I'm in
here for something I didn't do
and I'm innocent,
every day I'm walking
a thin line through hell.
I thought prison was
for the rehabilitation
of men or women, so to speak.
That's what I always thought.
That's what they always say.
We send you here
and we rehabilitate
you so you won't do it again.
People come out of prison, they
come out in worse condition
than they was when
they first entered.
In the lackluster
heavyweight division, even
without his crown,
Tyson is still the man.
Promoters even courted
him at the prison,
hoping to share an estimated
$100 million payday.
Waiting for my opportunity
to get a chance to fight him,
there's a lot of writers,
in general, that think
that really he's the champ.
But realistic, I am the champ.
I have the belt.
Long before
dawn, news helicopters
hovered over the state prison,
and cameras were ready.
Hundreds of them from
around the world.
Tyson issued a
written statement.
I'm very happy to be
out and on my way home.
I will have more to say later.
It was
viewed as good versus evil.
The good was Evander.
The good Christian guy who
talks about the lord and things
like that, versus
Mike, who at that time
was the ex-con convicted rapist.
But Evander was perceived to
have no chance against Mike.
When the fight was
first announced,
Evander was a 25
to one underdog.
I mean, that's huge odds.
For anybody to be 25 to one
is like, they've got to shot.
As expected,
Mike Tyson comes out fast.
Don't push, don't
push, don't push.
Let's go.
I'm from the hood too.
I may not act like I'm from
there, but I'm from there.
Tyson never did insult me.
But the press did.
They talking about,
Tyson gonna kill you.
As we head for the bell.
They continue to
go after the bell!
Ain't nothing that he
was gonna do that I'm
not accustomed to.
No intimidation
factor here whatsoever.
Step easy.
I knew he was gonna be tough,
but I had watched
him my whole life.
It was almost like,
this is the fight.
The crowd behind Holyfield.
Chants of
Holyfield as the crowd sensing
that Holyfield might
have Tyson in trouble.
Mike just wore down from not
being able to hurt Evander,
and that was something that he
had never experienced before.
Tyson in trouble!
Tyson's ready to go!
stops the fight,
and Holyfield has the win!
I can't believe what I'm seeing.
It's the most
unbelievable thing I've
ever been privileged to witness.
It was one of the most
complete fights I ever fought.
That was Holyfield's greatest
Evander Holyfield ended up
being in some of the largest
pay per view matches in
the history of the sport,
but it took him a long
time to get there.
Evander Holyfield
was not just a good fighter.
He was a great fighter.
He's an underrated
heavyweight in my mind.
Very arguably belongs in the
top 10 heavyweights of all time
even though he was a little guy.
Started as a cruiser weight.
I don't think he became
what he could've been.
Boxing, as we imagine it,
is driven by a desire to
annihilate the opponent.
The focus is on the external.
Looking at what
boxers themselves say
is that it's about the internal.
It's about the discipline.
It's about the craft.
That it's not
about the opponent.
It's not about the external,
but it's about the internal.
It's about self.
When you win, everybody wins.
When you lose, you lose alone.
And that's the
truth, because you
have to deal with
that by yourself.
There's a large
degree to which the fighter
that achieves stardom,
super stardom, they
represent the American
dream to people.
They, the underdog
that makes it.
But I gotta be
honest with you, I
think a lot of that's
greatly overstated.
Mike Tyson, the
biggest athlete by far
of the 1990s, and biggest
athlete of the 1990s,
and certainly a
super star boxer,
suffered a lot of ups and downs
and was never really protected
by the people that
surrounded him
for the majority of his career.
My self worth,
even when I was a child,
depended on how much
I could hurt someone.
And as I got older and
I met Cus, that, well,
it continued to be how many
people I could knock out,
how fast I could knock them
out, how bad I could hurt them.
And so it just
stayed on that path.
The kid doesn't
have a normal home environment,
doesn't have a normal
support system around him,
and then he's basically trained
to be a fighting machine.
His life was crazy.
Tyson was a pit bull.
The ear biting incident
was a check out.
Mike was messed up.
I'm sure he'd be the first
one to tell you that.
You have to
understand, this is just what I
did, seven years of my life,
eight years of my life.
My greatest moment was
when I stopped boxing.
It was just dark for me.
Boxing got real dark for me.
A stunned crowd here
at the MCI Center in Washington
DC as McBride defeats Mike
Tyson, who quits on his stool.
I got an ability
to stay in shape,
but I don't got the fighting
guys, I don't think, anymore.
When did you recognize that?
At what part of the fight?
I don't know.
Early into the fight.
I'm just sorry I
let everybody down.
I mean, I just don't have
this in my heart anymore.
Did you feel as though you
had it coming into the fight?
I'm just fighting to take
care of my bills, basically.
We know from
studies of lottery winners,
of professional
athletes, anyone who
comes into a sudden
windfall of money,
be careful what you
wish for, because that
creates more problems.
You have everybody coming
out of the woodwork
to try to get a
piece of your action.
Tyson has pulled
in an estimated $300 million.
He could have made
more if he hadn't
racked up the prison time.
And who knows how much he's lost
in lawsuits or to the managers
he claims ripped him off?
The bottom line, Tyson
then, $300 million.
Tyson now, chapter 11.
It's a sport where
you can be used.
There's no training
about how to handle
yourself outside the ring.
Very few boxers are taught
about how to handle their money.
If you don't have a good
team of people around you,
you will kill yourself.
You will crash and burn,
because every level of success
you have, you hit a wall
that you have to learn more.
I will always
wonder why Mike Tyson didn't
declare bankruptcy years before
his tax issues became crushing.
I mean, he clearly was bankrupt.
Why didn't he
declare bankruptcy?
Because it was in people's
interests to keep his contracts
alive with those he
was doing business.
Days after filing
for bankruptcy,
boxer Mike Tyson has filed suit
against his former promoter,
Don King.
Don was... I mean,
he knew everybody.
It's like he was a
step ahead of us.
How could you prepare
for something like that?
You don't know
who's trying to take
from you, who loves
you, who likes you.
You don't know if somebody's
trying to set you up.
Even when you play
by the rule book,
you find a person that has that
same energy that the person had
that was trying to rob you,
but they won't even give you
courtesy of pointing
a gun at you.
They'll rob you and do
it in black and white.
And I seen people do
worse things to you
in corporate settings than I
seen them do on the street.
Take everything from you.
There are
bottom feeders that will attach
themselves with
their law license,
with their business savvy to
a fighter from Brooklyn, New
York, Philly, or
any other place that
don't have really the education.
Just ask Atlanta
car dealer Ken Sanders
who took Holyfield
under his wing
when he needed a cosigner for
a car and became his manager.
Ken Sanders wasn't my manager.
I just told people that
because he ran a car
dealership so he
knew about money.
I got into boxing
because all I had
to do what know how to fight.
I didn't know nobody
who know about money.
I don't know nobody who
made a lot of money.
I mean, even
when you hit the Powerball,
the first thing
people will tell you
is, get an accountant
and a lawyer.
Well, boxing is the same
way, but they don't tell you.
That's why most athletes wind
up not having nothing when
all the hard labor and
years in the ring is over.
You ask Mike Tyson,
how you doing, Mike.
He says, just
living today today.
That's what he's doing.
Just living today today.
You can look at people
like Evander Holyfield
that made hundreds of millions
of dollars whose houses went
into foreclosure and who's
struggling right now to get by.
A foreclosure notice
in the local newspaper states
Holyfield defaulted on
a $10 million bank loan.
A strange reversal of
fortune for a champion
believed to have
earned $200 million
during his storied career.
The house that
Holyfield built may soon
become his biggest loss
outside of the ring.
When you get
money, you gotta ask questions.
I never did have
to ask questions,
because I'd never had no money.
What happened to
me is not so much
they stole, but they
did take advantage
of what I didn't know.
They all want
this boxer to make them money.
Once the boxer doesn't
make them any more money,
they're cast aside like rubbish.
You retire with a great record,
and then you'd be sitting on
a stool in your living room,
where do I go from here?
I don't have any skills.
I'm not trained to do anything.
I'm not educated.
I don't have a college degree.
A lot of guys don't have
high school degrees.
It's not at all
uncommon to have even boxers
who had great acclaim
wind up broke,
penniless, as greeters
at a casino in Vegas.
What you don't hear
about is the guy
that fights on ESPN
four times a year,
and after he pays his manager,
and his trainer, and everyone
involved, is still
at the poverty line.
The budgets on ESPN allow
a guy in a main event
to get paid about 15 grand.
Like I said, split
that money off,
train for number of
weeks for that fight,
and you're making... You could
make more money, honestly,
taking a minimum
wage job and working
a little bit of over time.
The minimum salary in
Major League Baseball,
even in minor league
baseball, is livable.
There is no minimum
salary for a fighter.
The top 1% fighters
probably make 99% of money.
Boxing is laissez-faire
capitalism run amok.
There is essentially no
one running the ship.
There's different organizations
that run a piece of it.
There's promoters who go up and
down and control parts of it,
but there are essentially
no regulations.
Boxing is
regulated at the state level.
You have Nevada with
its set of rules,
you have California with its
set of rules, you have New York,
you have New Jersey.
Jurisdictions will have
a different perspective
on a different
matter, and nobody
is on the same
page at all times.
Most people think that we
need a federal commission
to regulate the sport of boxing.
The federal government
tempted to regulate boxing
by the passage of the Ali Act.
It's given some authority
to the federal government
to enforce boxing from
a business perspective.
However, there has not been any
prosecution or implementation
of the Ali Act for a fighter.
Why is it every sport in
America is regulated or has
some type of union
and boxing don't?
In other sports like
baseball, football, tennis,
you have individuals who are
well educated in those sports
to help guide those champions
through their effort
and their time.
If you're an NFL
player, or an NBA player,
or a Major League
Baseball player,
there is at least a core.
You have the team.
You have whatever resources
they have to help you.
You have the league
that has some resources.
Who do we go to?
It's crazy to put your
body and your mind
through this hard way
of making a living
for yourself and your family.
And to wind up with nothing and
not even your health, to me,
is a sin.
We as a country,
are in love with our sports,
but when these two fighters step
into a ring, there is a
level of violence that
is unlike any other
sport in terms
of duration and intensity.
When a fighter receives
a blow that is so severe,
what's going on inside
the head is the brain
is suddenly slammed against
the back of your skull
and then thrown forward
again as the head snaps back.
It's commonly
called a concussion.
It can swell and cause
long term hematomas,
bleeding on the brain,
memory loss, strokes
or aneurysms, or
vessel breakage.
It can cause death depending
on how severe, how acute,
where the brain actually
impacts the skull.
It has happened where a
fighter will leave the ring.
Whether they've won or
lost, they look fine.
They head out to dinner,
everything's wonderful,
and one, to two, to
three days later,
something traumatic happens.
I had a young champion,
a guy named Leavander Johnson.
He was walking out of the ring.
I walked out of
the ring behind him
and I saw he was a little
unsteady on his feet.
He put his arm on
me and I walked
him back to his dressing room.
He was apologizing for losing.
And I'll never forget it.
He sat on a stool,
then he looked at me
and he said, Lou,
I have a headache.
And then he fell forward and he
never regained consciousness.
He died, I think, it was
five, six days later.
Every society, for the most
part, on the face of the Earth
has some primal
need for violence.
It's always there,
that bloodthirstiness.
It's human nature
to be fascinated by violence.
We hear a car wreck, we
go see what happened.
Horror movies.
How's somebody gonna be
eaten alive or torn up?
It's all over the place.
We are just attracted
by confrontation,
by conflict, by controversy.
That's what sells and that's
what boxing tries to sell.
Boxing needs
something that can say, hey,
there is support for a fighter.
The fighter is the one who's
putting his life in danger
to enter that ring and
provide entertainment
to everybody that's there.
However, we have to weigh
the resources we have
with the actual
regulation of the sport.
Over the last year, we
generated about $5.5 million
in tax revenue just
from ticket sales.
The state legislature then
makes an appropriation
to the Athletic Commission,
and that allocation
is about $450,000.
So there's a huge disparity
from a regulative prospective.
I'm concerned
right now about the sport.
People in life have a right
to take risks and a right
to live the lives
they want to live.
Now, that being said, it's
barbaric in a lot of ways
that there's no standardized
health and safety
criteria in the United States.
Think about that.
It's preposterous.
It's high time
that boxing began to regulate
just like other pro
sports like the NFL.
When there's no checks and
balances, there's a problem.
When you see the people who
come from nothing, who come
from less than nothing,
to see them perform
and to see them give
such great entertainment
is an amazing thing.
But as important as it is
for us to celebrate them
at the top of where they
are, it's as important
that we figure out
how to carry them
when they need us the most.
There are
some great success stories
and some great
stories of those who
escape prison, escape
the street and make it.
But for every one of those
guys, there's a sad story
and there's a story of
someone who's exploited,
or a story of someone who loses
their health in the long term,
or a story that somebody
who becomes a champion
and toils for years,
and then winds up
retired with virtually nothing.
It's the American dream and
it's the American nightmare.
When I'm over here
and I'm looking at the Vegas
strip, I can think about all
the trouble I got in over there.
All the drugs I used there.
I never even think about all
the great fights I had there.
I just think about
all the things
I did there, wasn't
really moral.
All I did is knock
people out, screw people,
have sex with women,
get high on drugs.
When me and my wife
first got together,
I was a full blown addict.
My daughter passed
away at four years old.
What happened was a
tragic accident at home.
That's my lowest point.
When I was at the
hospital, I realized
that other people's
children were dying too.
And those people, just
because I'm famous,
they took out of their way,
left their dying children,
their sick children, came
over here and prayed with me.
Then I realized, well, hey.
Their baby's dying too.
So what makes you so important
that you think you should
be mad and angry,
want to kill somebody,
and do... just do
this whole tough guy
stuff because your baby's dying?
Their baby's dying
too, and they left
them to come over
here and talk to you.
You ain't shit, motherfucker.
You don't care about nobody.
These people left
their fucking baby
to talk to your no
good fucking ass.
And, um, that's
just what it was.
And it's not about me.
The world's bigger than me.
My wife, she stayed
by me and said,
we're gonna get through this.
Just kept it very positive.
Constantly positive.
I just wanted to change.
I wanted to break the
chain of self bondage
that my mother and father
and her mother and father
probably had.
And I wanted it to change with
me so my kids wouldn't have
to deal with that
same suffering.
I'm so happy to be involved
with the recovery world.
I met a bunch of people that
were just amazing people.
They didn't quit on me.
They didn't give up
on me like the rest
of the people in my life.
It's an ongoing struggle.
The pain never goes away.
I'm never in a situation that
I'm so secure that I could
never fall back into that nasty,
dirty, disgusting, wretched
individual that I once was.
I never think that
guy's gone totally.
It's time now where I
have to deal with things
from a serious perspective,
and how me and my family
are gonna evolve from
that perspective.
He had to make adjustments.
Adjustment's part of life.
That's the biggest fight.
You want to see how
strong somebody is?
Have them get disappointed.
It's over.
That's it.
It is over.
That's it.
Evander Holyfield
has never been knocked out,
and Riddick Bowe is
the one to do it.
If I was Holyfield
or any of his team members,
I'd really have to reevaluate if
he's fit to continue to fight.
With all the health problems
and the heart conditions,
is Evander Holyfield
just completely done?
We don't know.
My mother passed
before I fought Mike Tyson.
My brother passed before
I fought Riddick Bowe.
I had a lot of tragedy
in my family and stuff.
So, you know, you have
to put them behind.
And the continuing life
in the ring of
Evander Holyfield.
Don't count me out yet, he says.
And tonight, with some
new gas in the tank.
Evander Holyfield
was an all time great.
But Evander didn't understand
that the shell life
of a fighter is limited.
We may be
seeing the end of an era.
And I think they
throw in the towel.
I think he was
forced to fight way too long.
Fights at the end of his career
are for virtually no money.
Evander is very
confident in what he believes.
His stubbornness
can be his greatest
asset and his
greatest liability.
I didn't
get into boxing for money.
I got into boxing because I
wanted to be the very best.
I'm the only person who's
been the heavyweight champion
of the world five times, because
I got that many opportunities.
Everybody's gonna
get off the path,
but the point is
to get back on it.
Forgive yourself
and get back on.
Evander Holyfield
has faced plenty of opponents
in the ring, but
nothing like this.
Together with his friend
and financier Yank Barry,
they plan to deliver
food aid and help
resettle Syrian
refugees in a home
supplied by Barry's charity.
Yank Barry used
my likeness to draw the people.
I was on my last leg, but this
man gave me an opportunity
to fight back these
people who were
taking my memorabilia
and all this.
He did it himself.
I think Evander
has come to that realization
that he needs to be Evander
Holyfield and not necessarily
Evander Holyfield, four
time heavyweight champion
of the world.
If it wasn't for that Boys
Club and other people who
had money who sponsored me
as a kid, I wouldn't
be who I am.
The work that I'm doing
now with Global Village,
that's what life
is really about.
I go to Heaven, they
ain't gonna be asking me,
how many times you became
the heavyweight champion
of the world.
He's gonna ask, what did
you do for the people.
The reason why you exist in
the world is to help somebody.
Not just for yourself.
One of my best friends
was Muhammad Ali.
Muhammad's health
started failing
and I had to pick a new
goodwill ambassador.
It was Evander.
And Evander brought in Mike.
He brought... You bought him in?
Evander Holyfield has been
very gracious with Mike.
Mike bit a portion
of his ear off.
that takes a lot of compassion,
a lot of love in your heart,
to forgive someone.
If you forgive, then
you'll have peace.
You won't have people fighting
each other all the time.
That's what makes the world
go around is people forgive.
What did you think when
Evander called you and said,
I want you to get
involved in this project.
Well, it's not like I was
doing anything, of course.
You know?
I said, hey, um, yeah.
Well, Mike always talked
about that he never
wanted to be involved
in the sport again.
But now that he's
resurrected himself,
you see him going
back to boxing,
establishing his own promotional
company to not only help
the young boxers develop
into good boxers,
but to help them not make
some of the bad choices
that he made.
I was very critical of Mike.
I'm happy to see
him at a place where
I think he's much more
at peace, and at a better
place in his life than
I've ever seen him.
The Mike Tyson
that's there right
now is an honest guy trying
to do the best he can
to be happy and
live a good life.
His core love of
boxing stems from the amateurs.
That's when it was all
about the love of the game.
It wasn't so much about money.
And that's when boxing and
the sport is at its purest.
It's the adversity
that you face as a boxer that
really brings out
the true champion.
Bernard, and Mike, and
Evander, all of them
have faced that
kind of adversity.
Inside the ring, to be sure,
but outside the ring as well.
And I don't think we can measure
the arc of some of these people
until we see them go
through the adversities.
And when they do, it takes
a lot to come back from it.
The one thing that I think
keeps them coming back,
both in the boxing
ring and in life,
is the fact that boxers
have perseverance.
I'm on a different mission
now that some ain't gonna like.
And they shouldn't.
What I would like to do
in my second half of life
is to raise what
they would perceive
to be hell amongst the
people that want to keep
a society of prey to exist
so they can take advantage
of the backs, and blood,
and tears of a fighter.
We need to start thinking
about things in the long term,
and I think some of
that responsibility
falls on those that interact
with the fighters on a more day
to day basis.
There's one particular fighter
that has really stepped out
in front, and that's
Bernard Hopkins.
Being a part
of Golden Boy Promotion, what
I want to do is to take every
fighter that comes through me.
You've got to have
your own account.
You've got to have
your own attorney.
You've got to know what
the business is about.
This was the sport of kings.
This sport changed history, man.
This sport had more to
do with the advancement
of the civil rights movement
than any other sport.
From Jack Johnson to Joe
Lewis to Muhammad Ali.
This is a sport that is
ingrained in the fabric
of this country.
I think that a
resurgence is possible,
but there has to be
some changes made.
ultimate opponent for a fighter
is truth.
If he can be truthful
with himself,
if he can look at his
limitations and then
work on them.
If he can understand what he
does well and then enhance it.
But he has to deal in truth.
When you lose, you can
only blame yourself.
Go back and just look
at what you did wrong.
It's the ones that know how to
lose, and make yourself better,
and come back.
That's boxing.
In boxing,
you have to have challenges,
and you use those challenges to
take it to a different level.
I'm a fighter.
I'm that type of guy that
could've been anything else
in my life if I
chose to be that.
We all have talent in us.
You just gotta find it.
tested in one way or another.
It ain't easy.
Your priorities
gotta be lined up.
I have just as many
distractions as somebody else.
but I really wanted to be great.
Victory is how you're
able to inspire
people to want to be better.
This all comes down to family,
love, and forgiveness,
and respect.
Bridging the gaps between who
I am and who I want to be.
I'll find different
ways of becoming
more conscious about myself.
Human beings think a lot
of themselves, you know.
To think that we'll be
that privileged to see
the end of the world.
I don't think we're gonna
have that privilege.
I know there's things
that have been bad,
but you have to look at all the
good that's happening out here.
I see a new birth in the world.
I see people
respecting people more.
We have to evolve.
This is a great world,
and it's the best deal
we ever got in our
life, you know.
Life itself.
We got it for nothing.
Look at all we got in return.