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Becoming Holyfield

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The never-before-published narrative of Evander Holyfield's life reveals a man of character behind the larger-than-life public image. He rose from an impoverished background to become history's only four-time World Heavyweight Champion, commanding fees of up to $30 million a fight. Never the biggest, nor the meanest (Tyson), nor the prettiest (Ali), he is nevertheless among the most respected and beloved. BECOMING HOLYFIELD is a treasure-trove of behind-the-scenes stories of people who have become legend, including promoter Don King and boxers Lennox Lewis and, of course, Mike Tyson, whose two showdowns with Evander -- including the infamous 'Bite Fight' -- have gone down as all-time classic contests. It is also one legend's honest look back over his life and the many lessons he learned to become a fulfilled father, husband and simply a good man.
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Four-time heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield never excited with style like Muhammad Ali or brutality like Mike Tyson. Rather, he was the Little Engine That Could, a small heavyweight competing with, and usually defeating, men much larger than himself. His book tells his story well but doesn't offer much new to make it truly shine. We knew of his hardships growing up in a poor, broken African American family; we know that boxing is a vicious sport, both inside the ring and out; we know the value of religious belief. Those familiar with Holyfield are likely already to know of his romantic life and that, despite shoulder surgeries and what fortunately turned out to be the misdiagnosis of a heart condition, he warriors on at age 45. Along other lines, he does debunk the myth that it was Cus D'Amato who was the young Tyson's spiritual as well as boxing guiding light, expressing the opinion that Teddy Atlas filled that role and that D'Amato actually fostered Iron Mike's antisocial tendencies, but that is his only eyebrow-raising offering. Recommended for public libraries serving hard-core boxing fans or where there might be regional interest in Holyfield.-Jim Burns, Jacksonville P.L., FL Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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