Updated: May 1
We speak of exceptional athletes and we envision champions with the ability to perform miraculous feats of strength, speed, power, and distance. What is often forgotten nonetheless, is the significance of the athlete’s ability to withstand punishment and persevere. Still, it has been proven time and time again that durability is not solely dependent upon luck, resolve, or genetic blessing but in fact, it can be enhanced and established through one's focus and labor on health and fitness.
Entering the world of professional boxing as a cruiserweight, Evander Holyfield would eventually decide to move up to compete in the heavyweight division. Still, this choice would not come without consequence as the bigger and stronger opposition of the future would possess the ability to inflict more damage than challengers of the past.
With a career ahead that would rely on determination and heart as a crutch, Holyfield went on to hire bodybuilding champion Lee Haney along with sports performance trainer Tim Hallmark to assist him in enhancing his performance through the use of his physical abilities. As a result of this decision, Holyfield would gain twenty pounds of muscle so that he would better be able to withstand the punishment of the larger foe while at the same time providing himself with the means to dish out much of the same.
When asked about his toughness Holyfield once stated, "I don't go looking for punishment, but if punishment comes my way, I try to absorb it and give punishment back." And give it back he did as “The Real Deal” would go on to become a four-time heavyweight champion and defeat such opponents by the names of Mike Tyson, Larry Holmes, and George Forman.
After a twenty-seven-year career and a final record of forty-four wins and only ten losses, Holyfield would prove by example that a steadfast focus on health and fitness can enhance the athlete’s durability. Such a characteristic is necessary especially for the warrior that fights with a straight-ahead style and a will that won’t ever quit.