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Evander Holyfield

Boxer Evander Holyfield was born on October 19, 1962 in Attmore, Alabama, to Annie Riggen Holyfield and Isom Coley. Holyfield’s family moved to Atlanta, Georgia when he was four years old and at eight years old, he joined the Boys & Girls Club and met Carter Morgan, who introduced him to the field of boxing. Holyfield graduated from Fulton High School in 1980.

In 1984, Holyfield became the National Golden Gloves Champion and went on to represent the United States at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California, where he received the bronze medal in the light heavyweight division. He turned professional at the age of twenty-one, and moved to the cruiserweight division in 1985, and won his first world championship the following year for the WBA title. He became the undisputed cruiserweight champion after defeating Ricky Parkey and Carlos de Leon and winning the WBC and IBF titles.

In 1988, Holyfield moved up to the heavyweight division and later defeated Buster Douglas in 1990 to claim the unified WBA, WBC and IBF heavyweight titles and the undisputed heavyweight championship. He successfully defended his titles against heavyweights like George Foreman and Larry Holmes, before his first professional loss to Riddick Bowe in 1992. The following year, Holyfield regained his WBA and IBF titles in a rematch with Bowe. In 1994, he lost those titles in a match against Michael Moorer. That year, Holyfield was forced to retire after being diagnosed with a heart condition. He returned to boxing a year later, and defeated Mike Tyson in 1996 to reclaim the WBA title becoming the first boxer since Muhammad Ali to win a world heavyweight title three times, in what The Ring magazine named the “Fight of the Year” and “Upset of the Year.” In the 1997 rematch with Tyson, Holyfield won after Tyson was disqualified for biting Holyfield’s ear. Holyfield also later reclaimed the IBF title from Moorer.

In 1999, Holyfield fought Lennox Lewis for the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world, ending in a draw. Holyfield was defeated in the rematch with Lewis eight months later. In 2000, he defeated John Ruiz to regain the WBA title, passing Muhammad Ali to become the first boxer to win a heavyweight championship four times. In 2001, Holyfield lost the title in a rematch against Ruiz. Holyfield continued fighting and in 2010 defeated Francois Botha for the WBF title, again breaking his record and becoming a five-time heavyweight champion of the world. He retired from boxing in 2014.

Holyfield has eleven children.

Evander Holyfield was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 12, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.019

Sex

Male

Interview Date

01/24/2017

Last Name

Holyfield

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Evander

Birth City, State, Country

Atmore

HM ID

HOL20

Favorite Season

Summer

Sponsor

Laura and George Bilicic

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Florida

Favorite Quote

I Can Do All Things Through Christ

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

10/19/1962

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Fort Lauderdale

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Eggs

Short Description

Boxer Evander Holyfield (1984 - ) a record-setting five-time heavyweight champion of the world, is known for his 1996 win over Mike Tyson named “Fight of the Year” and “Upset of the Year” by The Ring magazine.

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Purple

Ernie Terrell

Heavyweight boxer and entertainer Ernest Terrell was born on April 4, 1939 in Belzoni, Mississippi. This tall and lanky athlete retired from the profession after 15 years of fighting with a record of 46 wins - 21 of which were knockouts - and only nine losses.

Terrell began boxing professionally in 1957 and simultaneously launched a popular singing group in Chicago with his sister, Jean Terrell, who later replaced Diana Ross with the Supremes. During his first year of boxing, he won all five of his fights, knocking out three of his opponents. He continued to excel, winning fight after fight over the next several years. Terrell also continued to perform with his musical group, Ernie Terrell and the Heavyweights.

After the World Boxing Association stripped Muhammad Ali of his title as heavyweight champion in 1965, Terrell finally got a chance for the label. He defeated Eddie Machen for the vacant title and retained it until February 6, 1967. That day, he fought in his most famous match against Muhammad Ali in Houston, Texas and lost after 15 grueling rounds. Ali, who had changed his name from Cassius Clay after converting to Islam, took offense to Terrell using his "slave name" and repeatedly shouted, "What's my name?" throughout the match. Terrell lost his two remaining fights that year and announced his retirement in December. However, he returned to the ring two years later, beating Sonny Moore on December 15 in 10 rounds. Terrell continued to win his matches, and on June 23, 1973, he earned another shot at becoming a heavyweight champion. However, Chuck Wepner defeated him in 12 rounds in an extremely controversial decision. Terrell boxed in his last fight on September 23 of that year.

After retiring permanently from boxing, Terrell became a music producer in Chicago. Terrell also had a brief stint in politics when he lost the 1987 election for alderman of Chicago's 34th ward. In October of 2004, he was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame.

Terrell passed away in December of 2014 at age 75.

Ernie Terrell was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 25, 2002.

Accession Number

A2002.093

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/25/2002

Last Name

Terrell

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Organizations
Search Occupation Category
First Name

Ernie

Birth City, State, Country

Belzoni

HM ID

TER01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Las Vegas, Nevada

Favorite Quote

This Guy Told Me That You Told Him Something I Told You Not To Tell Him.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

4/4/1939

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Succotash

Death Date

12/17/2014

Short Description

Music producer, boxer, and singer Ernie Terrell (1939 - 2014 ) was a Hall of Fame heavyweight boxing champion and the leader of the musical group, Ernie Terrell and the Heavyweights.

Favorite Color

Dark Colors

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ernie Terrell's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ernie Terrell lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ernie Terrell describes his family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ernie Terrell talks about his family's move from Inverness, Mississippi to Belzoni, Mississippi in 1941

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ernie Terrell describes the struggle of owning land as a black family in Mississippi in the 1940s

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ernie Terrell talks about moving to Chicago, Illinois in 1953 from Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ernie Terrell talks about his childhood in segregated Inverness, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ernie Terrell talks about living near a prisoner of war camp in Belzoni, Mississippi during World War II

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ernie Terrell describes the racism he experienced growing up in Mississippi in the 1940s

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Ernie Terrell talks about what he enjoyed in his youth

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ernie Terrell describes a racist incident at a carnival during his childhood in Belzoni, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ernie Terrell describes the black community in Missisippi

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ernie Terrell talks about his family's move to Chicago, Illinois to pursue better economic opportunities

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ernie Terrell describes adjusting to school at Barnard Elementary School and Farragut High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ernie Terrell talks about boxing as a youth and winning the Golden Gloves tournament

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ernie Terrell describes how his height helped him in his boxing career

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ernie Terrell describes his boxing training during high school

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ernie Terrell talks about playing the guitar during high school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ernie Terrell describes the beginning of his singing career in the 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ernie Terrell describes touring around North America with the success of his singing and boxing career

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ernie Terrell describes his and his sister's, the Supreme's Jean Terrell, music style

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ernie Terrell describes his singing career taking off in the 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ernie Terrell talks about meeting Berry Gordy and his sister, Jean Terrell, becoming lead singer of the Supremes in 1970, pt.1

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ernie Terrell talks about meeting Berry Gordy and his sister, Jean Terrell, becoming lead singer of the Supremes in 1970, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ernie Terrell describes receiving death threats due to his manager's mob ties

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Ernie Terrell talks about his boxing style

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Ernie Terrell talks about the boxers he fought on his way to becoming World Boxing Association Champion in 1965

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ernie Terrell talks about his peers in the World Boxing Association

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ernie Terrell describes becoming World Boxing Association Heavyweight Champion in 1965

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ernie Terrell talks about his relationship with Joe Louis and Ezzard Charles

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ernie Terrell describes negotiating with Muhammad Ali and boxing promoters before his 1967 fight with Ali

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ernie Terrell describes the antagonism between him and Muhammad Ali leading up to their 1967 fight, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ernie Terrell describes the antagonism between him and Muhammad Ali leading up to their 1967 fight, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ernie Terrell talks about preforming at Thule Air Base in Greenland with his sister, Jean Terrell

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Ernie Terrell describes losing unfairly to Chuck Wepner in 1973

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Ernie Terrell talks about retiring from boxing in 1973

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ernie Terrell talks about his promoting boxing after retiring from boxing in 1973

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ernie Terrell describes what makes a good promoter

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ernie Terrell reflects on the top boxers currently and the changing interest in boxing

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ernie Terrell describes his hopes and concerns for the black community

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ernie Terrell talks about his family

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ernie Terrell describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ernie Terrell talks about his parents' reaction to his and his sister's, Jean Terrell, success

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Ernie Terrell talks about his mother

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Ernie Terrell narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ernie Terrell narrates his photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ernie Terrell narrates his photographs, pt. 3

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ernie Terrell narrates his photographs, pt. 4

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

2$5

DATitle
Ernie Terrell describes touring around North America with the success of his singing and boxing career
Ernie Terrell describes the antagonism between him and Muhammad Ali leading up to their 1967 fight, pt. 1
Transcript
Then I would get fight on, have to leave it and they'd leave my name up there. And that's what--that's how I was working. So you know I, I started to move up in boxing. I start, I was you know--this was--I started to move up in boxing. Now my sister and my brother Lenny--Lenny is, I'm ten years older than him. He--they were still in school. They were still in school so we--it was very hard to go on the road you understand because--well we did go on the road. Jean [Terrell] graduated--when she graduated. Lenny was still in school so he would--sometime we had to fly him back with some folk--we was working in New Jersey and we had to fly him back with some folks, make him go to school every day and--while we worked. And that's the way it went down. And we were doing great. I mean started--it was going good. And as I progressed in boxing, I appeared on all of the shows like Merv Griffin and Johnny Carson and Hollywood Palace. And if you'll see it back there, this--Ed Sullivan. I just appeared on there by myself and Ed Sullivan took and he just introduced me on there. But we worked the Hollywood Palace, these are the kind of places that we worked and-$$Now you all really took off quick, I mean I guess, right? You started, you-$$Well it was--it was relative--it was kind of quick once this guy, guy come--well what we had done before we did all that, we made a tour of Canada. We worked in, all--and like, like we--but see, I had become champion, I had fought--see, this was going simultaneously with boxing. Now I had become champion when we toured Canada. I had beat Eddie Machen and we, we had--I had fought George Chuvalo in Canada and I toured Canada. I went from, oh let's see, like from Montreal to Toronto to, I mean--where did we go? We went to Saskatchewan. That's a providence right?$$Yeah, a providence [sic, province], right.$$We--and I forget all of the providences [provinces] in Canada. But we worked them all. We worked them--we worked from, we started in--where did we start? Toronto, we worked Montreal, then we worked Alberto [sic, Alberta], is that a, is that a Providence, Alberto? All of the towns in Canada that we worked, we worked them just about all.$About--we had to sign for the fight first. I don't want to forget that part. We had to sign for the fight so we got together up at the boxing commission's office and we signed for the fight and this is where me and Clay [Muhammad Ali] got the first stuff going and he started it. What happened is, Irving Schoenwald said, "Now look, when you guys go to your training camp I want you all to get prepared to come here to Chicago [Illinois] and do your last two weeks of training here in Chicago to help promote this fight." He said "is that all right with you Ernie?" I said "well if it's all right with Clay it's all right with me." And he says, it's all right with you? He said--he told me he said, Muhammad. I said oh, Muhammad. He said "why you call me Clay and everybody else call me Muhammad my--by my true name and you call me by the white folks' name?" I said well, I said when I met you, I've been knowing you all this time you told me your name was Clay so that's what I call you. I don't know all these here names you picking up." He said "you're not--you're just an old 'Uncle Tom'" and he pushed me. And then somebody grabbed me and we started wresting and struggling and my suit got torn up and all that stuff. And that's what started that "what's my name" stuff, you know? And so I didn't think--after he told me that we're going to do this stuff to boast the fight so everything was fine, you know. So it was all right. So what happened is I went on to training camp and started training then all of a sudden I get a letter that the government was going to throw the fight out of Chicago [Illinois] because Ali was making unpatriotic statements, you understand. So I called--wasn't nothing I could--I'm just sitting there waiting to see what happened. They're looking around for someplace to take the fight and every time they get someplace they would--the political thing would get heated and then to go from there. This was when he said them Japanese--no, what did he--them Vietnamese haven't done nothing to me, or something like that he was saying. Anyway, they--I had a two hundred fifty thousand dollar guarantee so that was supposed to be my guarantee, plus a percentage. They called me and said we can't give you no guarantee now. We just got to do what we can do. I said look man, no we can't do that. So they kept--they didn't have no site for the fight and all that stuff so I had to pull out of the fight. I had to pull out and that was what they wanted me to do because they wanted to--they had found a spot which was Canada and it was better for him to fight George Chuvalo in Canada than fight me up there, you know cause that was his home town. So he--I pulled out of the fight and he fought George Chuvalo and that's when I fought Doug Jones, I think. No, I had already beat Chuvalo. I had already--did I? Yeah, I had already beat Chuvalo. I'm thinking. And, but anyway he fought Chuvalo then. And then after he fought Chuvalo, he went overseas and fought Cooper [Sir Henry Cooper] and Brian London and some other folks. Then I fought Doug Jones I'm thinking. And--before we got together on the fight between me and [Muhammad] Ali, you know.