This N That with Tony Mack: Real Deal: Holyfield, MBC are on the rise

RALEIGH, N.C. —Evander Holyfield, the boxer, will tell you that he's been blessed inside and outside the ring.

His career inside the squared circle speaks for itself:… "We must reclaim our youth one family at a time from the jail house to the church house."

— Evander Holyfield

RALEIGH, N.C. —Evander Holyfield, the boxer, will tell you that he's been blessed inside and outside the ring.

His career inside the squared circle speaks for itself: an Olympic medalist, boxing's only undefeated cruiserweight champion, and the only man to gain the heavyweight title four separate times.

While the Atlanta native says he hopes to regain the crown for a fifth time, Holyfield, the business man, has already become a success in the television game in just a short period of time.

Nearly four years ago, Holyfield along with attorney Willie Gary, ex-major leaguer Cecil Fielder, and musician Marlon Jackson helped launch the MBC (Major Broadcasting Cable) Network in the Peachtree state.

"When they asked me to be a part of this, I wanted to know what their vision was going to be", said Holyfield, who serves as the network's co-vice chairman.

"We wanted to show the kids and others through our programming that there are many positives out there that need to be shown."

"Not everybody out there can sing, dance, or play sports. But hopefully by watching us, they'll realize that we as black folks can do anything we want. Once you put that vision out there, it can be powerful."

With an emphasis on reaching the urban market, MBC has quickly become the home for Black College sports along with original programming that includes news, movies, and religious shows.

Other syndicated programs such as "Roc" with Charles Dutton and "Save Our Streets" hosted by Tim Reid are also part of the network.

While MBC also has its own music video shows, they're limited to no more than five hours a day.

The network has the distinction of being the only African-American owned and operated cable network in America — now available in 41 states, 1,400 cities and 17 million homes.
Since September of 2002, MBC has carried over 70 live black college sporting events including football and basketball.

Last week's CIAA basketball tournament was covered by the network along with the upcoming MEAC and SWAC tournaments.

A sports fan who attends many athletic events during the year, Holyfield and his partner Shaw, a graduate of Shaw University, felt there was an audience that needed to be reached. "I think that it's something that can help the small black colleges down the road", said Holyfield.

"Sports can be used to drive these schools, just like you see on the bigger white schools. People love be a part of a winning program."

"Now we don't want school officials to be envious of the sports programs. It's something that can help in the long run."

"Someone can be watching a game with two black schools and get excited, they'll say 'Hey, I'd like to go there.' They'll come there and get a good education and the school gets that exposure and the long-term benefits."

Currently ranked fifth (just behind Roy Jones) in Ring Magazine's list of heavyweight contenders, Holyfield vows that he will fight again and that he'll regain the title.

"My goal is to be undisputed heavyweight champion again and I've never had a goal that I didn't reach", said Holyfield.

"It may take a little longer to reach that goal, but I've never been a quitter. Most of the folks who doubt that I'll get the crown again didn't think I'd get it in the first place."

You can also hear his sports commentaries every Saturday morning at 11:00 a.m. on "Sport Talk" on WCLM-AM 1450 in Richmond, Virginia ( You may reach Tony at: teemack200

March 10, 2003
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