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At Macy's, Holyfield bought a pair of black slacks, a bronze-colored shirt and a sweater to replace his travel-worn suit. After changing, Holyfield took the limo to Legion Field, Birmingham's historic football arena. "Uh-oh," said the champion, "how do we get in? I don't have passes or tickets or anything."
"Tickets? You're the man" said Williams. "You don't need tickets."
Sure enough, all barricades were removed. Holyfield visited his brother in the locker room, where Alabama A&M coach George Pugh used him for impromptu inspiration. "He won because he had more desire," Pugh told his players. "He had a plan. More determination. His fight was no different than the fight we have here. I don't know what he will say, but I want him to speak to you."
"I won my fight even though I was the smaller man," Holyfield began. "It's not the size; it's the size of the heart. I'm a little guy, but I have a big heart and big determination. I work hard. I pray hard. I believe in Christ."
Holyfield had intended to put in a brief appearance at the game before flying to Houston, where he has an apartment. He wanted to be there in time to go to his church on Sunday morning. But standing on the sideline, he got caught up in the action. With a minute to play and A&M leading 20-17, he left (which means he didn't see Alabama State score with 27 seconds remaining to win 24-20). He had posed for pictures with the A&M cheerleaders, Miss Black U.S.A. and anyone else with a camera. Three cops blazed a path through the crowd to the limo. When a photographer asked Holyfield for his address so that he could mail the champ some pictures he had taken of him, an exhausted Holyfield said that he could not remember.
At the airport Holyfield spent 15 minutes trying to find a plane that would get him to Houston without taking him east first, through Atlanta. "Man, I don't want to go backward to go forward," he said. At every counter he was asked for his autograph. Now, his nearly illegible scrawl read, "Holyfield, Phil. 4:13." Williams followed slowly, asleep on his feet.
For the first time since entering the ring against Douglas almost 48 hours earlier, Holyfield looked irritated. Atlas had finally run out of steam. For the moment, the world was too heavy. With a resigned sigh, he found a plane that would take him to Houston via Nashville. Once on board, he fell asleep before it left the ground. Atlas rested.