By Mark Vester
Former four-time heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield has been all over the headlines in the last two weeks. After his name was dropped in the middle of a steroid distribution scandal with a list of other top athletes from various sports, the boxing world is beginning to face the reality of fighters taking performance enhancing drugs.
Last week, the Times Union of Albany reported that Holyfield was on a customer list (under an alias) at Applied Pharmacy in Mobile, Alabama, one of the pharmacies raided by federal agents for distributing illegal performance enhancing drugs to athletes in every corner of the sports world. Holyfield has not been charged in the investigation.
In a recent report by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Holyfield revealed on Tuesday that he may have unknowingly taken a drug that could have come from the pharmacy in question in 2004. He took the drug to help with hormonal problem, but that he stopped after taking the drug two or three times, because the drug did not work. According to Holyfield, the hormonal problem would at times leave him tired and badly fatigued.
Holyfield said in 2004 "somebody recommended" he contact a doctor in South Georgia who dealt with hormone drugs. He could not remember the name of the doctor, but thinks he could have been associated with Applied Pharmacy.
"A doctor there prescribed something, but I don't know what it was. Hormonal something. All I know is it didn't do anything so I stopped taking it. I only took it two or three times over the summer. They said, 'Just keep taking it.' I said, 'Why, it's not doing anything?' I lost to Larry Donald [in November]," Holyfield told the paper.
Holyfield also disclosed to the paper that he was approached with taking steroids in 1988, right before he moved up in weight from cruiserweight to heavyweight. While he decided against taking any drugs, he was told by the person who approached him, someone "high up" in boxing, that former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson was taking steroids
"Somebody high up in boxing mentioned to me that there was this other fighter who did steroids and I should too because it wasn't illegal in boxing yet," he said. "I said, 'I'm not going to do that. I ain't no cheater.' I was the undisputed cruiserweight champion and I was in the Olympics. If I started taking steroids, people would say, 'He cheated at everything.' But this guy told me, 'Well, [Mike] Tyson is doing it, you should, too. I said, 'I don't care if Tyson is doing it, I'm not.' "
Holyfield said that he is not personally accusing Tyson of taking steroids, just repeating what he was told. He would not reveal the name of the person who told him that Tyson was taking steroids, noting to the paper that "The person is still in boxing. People sue people. I don't need to get into that."