She has also become the driving force behind the Holyfield Foundation, an organization founded by Evander three years ago to enhance the education of disadvantaged children, and has been instrumental in bringing out a line of Holyfield sportswear. Though Evander is involved—picking out the colors, the labels—Janice conducts the day-to-day business.
That Evander would delegate his business to Janice is a serious swerve for him. Money is a powerful force in his life, almost as profound as his drive to be the best. Actually money has been a source of inner conflict. Ever since he pumped gas at DeKalb-Peachtree Airport for minimum wage when he was a teenager, Holyfield has been obsessed with financial security on the one hand and an urge to spend his money on the other. "It's worse to have something and lose it," he says, "than to never have it." Then again, it's kind of nice to build a $15 million house with 17 bathrooms, three kitchens, a bowling alley, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, two five-car garages and a 135-seat movie theater.
Not even Holyfield knows what to make of himself. He says he's a penny-pincher, and acquaintances who see him at, say, an Atlanta Falcons game are never surprised to watch him make his way to the press box at halftime for the free hot dogs. Then again, he doesn't stint on luxury automobiles. While he might refuse the services of a cutman to save money, he doesn't seem to mind the $1.2 million a year he'll have to pay to keep his house going.
But this kind of confusion—a need for security mixed with tremendous pride and awesome earning power—is being eased in his new partnership with Janice. She is trying to redefine his purpose in life. She's helping him articulate his financial mission. His house, which was commissioned as a kind of trophy, will be transformed into a communitywide motivational tool. Evander was recently showing the property to a hometown reporter and announced that he was going to open it for tours to poor children in hopes of inspiring them. "I'm not showing the house to another rich person," he said.
If this is Janice's influence, then miracles probably are at work. Evander's fierceness and pride may have been reformed into a new self-satisfaction, one that won't need to be reinforced every six months in a ring. It's a pleasant idea, the warrior at last at peace with himself and everyone around him, his powers delegated, his wealth distributed. Happily married. Yet you don't want to get carried away with it. There's little time until the fight; he's emerging from his suspended animation, ready to make decisions, hatch schemes, dance. He's just now, as you read this, becoming Holyfield.