Originally created 11/13/97

Atlanta celebrates hometown boxer's latest win



ATLANTA -- Evander Holyfield thanked his family, his coaches and his lawyer Wednesday as Atlanta celebrated his victory over Michael Moorer.

A gospel group and a high school cheerleading squad joined about 200 supporters who applauded the heavyweight champion during a brief ceremony at City Hall.

Holyfield, who has earned about $170 million in his career, singled out attorney Jim Thomas in his thank-you's. "It's nice to know I'm going to get everything that is coming to me," he said.

Mayor Bill Campbell, fighting for his political life a runoff election, praised Holyfield as a model citizen who acts as an ambassador for the city and state.

"He's a man who has fought for children, fought for family and fought for God -- a true champion for people everywhere ... to overcome great odds," Campbell said.

"He has always remained a humble man. He has never forgotten his roots."

Holyfield, who lives in Fairburn south of Atlanta, defeated Moorer in eight rounds in Las Vegas Saturday night to add the IBF title to the WBA championship he won from Mike Tyson.

Much of the celebration was a political endorsement for Campbell, who faces Marvin Arrington in a runoff Nov. 25. Holyfield wore a large Campbell button.

Surrounded by red, white, purple and black balloons, Holyfield urged young people to remember three things: listen, follow instructions and resist quitting.

He said he listened to his coaches and trainers -- including one whose name he forgot during his speech -- and credited his main coach with developing the strategy that allowed him to avenge his 1994 loss to Moorer.

"I lost against Michael Moorer and a lot of people felt I could not beat this guy because he is a left-hander," Holyfield said. "You have setbacks in life, but I'm an overcomer."