Foreclosures hit people of all socio-economic levels.

Two of my neighbors lost their homes in the past three years. One was foreclosed after both husband and wife lost their jobs and were unemployed for more than two years. The other was a short sale when the only income producer was the victim of downsizing by his employer.

Both of these families were decent, hard working, well educated, middle class folks. They were victims of the economic collapse from which the country is still recovering.

This past week one house in the metro Atlanta area sold for $7.5 million. The bad news is the owner owed the bank twice that much- and $200,000 back taxes.

The 109 room house built in the late 1990s for $22 million has 11 bedrooms, 17 bathrooms, three kitchens, a two-lane bowling alley, a 135-seat theater, an Olympic-sized pool, two marble staircases. The 54,000 square foot house sat on a 235 acres tract of land and required $1 million annually for upkeep.

Evander Holyfield, the former owner, said, “I built it thinking about the next generation. I wanted my kids to get what I didn’t have. I needed a lot of land where people could live, a place where there wouldn’t be a lot of noise, where people could be themselves.”

Holyfield was born in Atmore, Alabama but his family moved to Atlanta when he was two years old. He was the youngest of nine children in a family well acquainted with poverty. He started boxing when he was 12 and began his professional career ten years later. He became the only five time heavyweight boxing champion of the world,  and has earned over one-quarter of a billion dollars.

By 1992, Holyfield was already a household name, promoting  multiple products on television. He also had a video game released. He appeared on numerous television shows and movies and embarked on several business ventures, none of which were very successful.

One biographer says that Holyfield has “at least 11 children” with at least 7 different women, three of whom he was married to but is now divorced. At one time his child support was $500,000 a year.  Add alimony to that and you have a pretty sizable amount of money flowing out..

In spite of all the money Holyfield has made he is now homeless. Well, not really. He is reportedly living in condo in Atlanta after having been evicted from his home on July 10. The house had been auctioned in March but he was allowed to live there until the deputy showed up at his door and told him he had 15 minutes to vacate the house.

Holyfield became a Christian and after his conversion, he started professing his faith everywhere, reminding the public before and after his fights that he is a born-again Christian. Friends and foes point out Holyfield tithed 10 percent throughout his career. In 2000, Holyfield’s second wife contended that he gave $7 million to one Atlanta based mega-church.

Holyfield always credited his success to two factors–his religious faith and the inspiration provided by his mother. “When I lost at anything, I was always able to go back and learn from those losses and then concentrate on the next fight,” he told the Boston Globe. “I made the 1984 Olympic team not because I didn’t lose any fights but because I was able to keep focused and I had a strong lady in my life, my mother. She taught me you have to live for today. Tomorrow is not always promising and not always promised. It’s an attitude that comes from a lot of pride and a lot of faith.”

It is obvious that Evander Holyfield made a lot of mistakes in his life. Perhaps he will remember his mother’s words once again and will be able to re-build his life and reputation. With God’s help.

Jamie Jenkins

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