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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Holyfield Sees the Light, Vows to Fight Free Tyson

LAS VEGAS -- Heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield is convinced that God is a fight promoter. And he's certain God wants him to fight former champion and convicted rapist Mike Tyson when he is released from jail.

"I'd been trying to find a way to get out of boxing," Holyfield said on Tuesday. "I kept asking why I keep fighting. I didn't know why.

"I really didn't need to fight but somehow I find myself growing to it and it bothered me that I kept doing something and I didn't know why. I finally prayed on it," said the soft-spoken champion, who in recent years has become increasingly religious.

The revelation that there was a divine plan for his fight career came to Holyfield when "this prophet guy told me God got things in boxing for me to do. I need to fight all these people and then my job in boxing will be done."

One of the people Holyfield believes is part of the divine matchmaker's list of opponents is fellow American Michael Moorer, against whom Holyfield will defend his World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation titles on Friday night. Holyfield is a 2-1 favorite in early betting to beat the left-handed Moorer (34-0) in their scheduled 12-rounder at Caesar's Palace.

Holyfield (30-1) sees himself dispatching Moorer, 26, and going on to fight World Boxing Council champion Lennox Lewis of Britain, Riddick Bowe (for the third time) and then Tyson, who is scheduled to be released from an Indiana prison in the spring of 1995.

Holyfield, of course, is assuming that he will be the undisputed world heavyweight champion then.

That seems to be an easy assumption for the champion to make, because "yeah, it's predestined that I wind up fighting Tyson for whatever the reason is I don't know. By the time he comes out it will be 1996," -- actually 1995 -- "and we'll be in Atlanta, Georgia, for a big bang," Holyfield said, referring to the Olympics.

Holyfield, 31, said that for a long time he had wanted to extend his career until 1996, but he didn't know why he felt that way. After all, he has won the heavyweight title twice and has earned enough money -- about $100 million -- for several lifetimes. And he finally earned respect as a heavyweight champion in his two epic battles with Bowe.

But now he understands.

"I truly believe I'm in this game until I fight Tyson. And I'm not going to lose anymore," said Holyfield, who lost his undisputed heavyweight title to Bowe in 1992 and came back to win back two of his titles by beating Bowe in a 12-round, upset decision last November.