HOUSTON (AP) -Even at 44, Evander Holyfield believes he can regain the heavyweight boxing title.
It's that perseverance and aplomb that kept the Houston Texans attentive as the four-time champion imparted his wisdom on winning with a team where it has been so elusive.
Holyfield, who will continue his quest to be the first five-time champion June 30 against Lou Savarese, delivered a spirited 15-minute address to the Texans before practice Thursday.
``The higher you get, the tougher it's going to get,'' Holyfield told the team. ``But you can never lose faith and you can never quit. You lose when you quit.''
Texans cornerback Dunta Robinson, who's been through three of Houston's five straight losing seasons, seemed particularly impressed with Holyfield.
``When there's greatness in your presence you want to hear what they got to say,'' Robinson said. ``Everybody wants to hear a guy like that talk and to see how can we be like him. It was great to come out here and listen to his words because he is a guy you can tell loves what he does and puts his all into what he does.''
Coach Gary Kubiak presented him with a No. 5 Texans jersey with his nickname, 'The Real Deal,' emblazoned on the back. When he put the jersey on, his biceps bulged out of the sleeves and it sat taut across his well-defined chest, causing several players to comment on how physically imposing Holyfield remains.
``He's impressive,'' Robinson said. ``I see a lot of 44-year-old men, I see a lot of 24-year old men that are not in that type of shape.''
Kubiak stood a few paces behind Holyfield during the address and enjoyed watching the reaction of his team.
``It's amazing just looking in the faces of those young players and seeing the intrigue in what he's accomplished,'' Kubiak said.
Holyfield shared his never quit message by sharing a story from his childhood about finally beating an opponent he thought he'd never get past. When he admitted he was so overcome with emotion upon finally beating the nemesis that he blurted out 'I love you' before running out of the ring, some players were doubled over with laughter.
``It's always good to hear how someone came up through the ranks struggling and being beat a couple of times and coming back and still fighting to be a champion,'' linebacker DeMeco Ryans said. ``That's the true heart of a champion.''
Kubiak said it was great to have someone with Holyfield's credentials to reiterate points to his team the coaching staff works daily to make.
``He talked about passion, he talked about commitment, he talked about being a good guy. Those are things we talk about all the time, but when someone like that stops by and echoes those remarks, that's as powerful as it can get.''
Holyfield's commitment to regaining the title has already taken him through three fights in Texas, all of which he won. When told Savarese has said a loss in the upcoming bout will be a career-ender for either fighter, Holyfield agreed.
``He's right,'' Holyfield said. ``But my whole thing is I'm going to win, so I think that he's finished. With me I don't even think of losing.''
He's undeterred by doubters who say he's too old to win the title again and insists he won't stop until it is his.
``My goal is to be the undisputed heavyweight champ of the world,'' he said. ``And I've been derailed eight times, but I'm the only guy that's ever been the heavyweight champion of the world four times though. I'm sure that I should be fighting for a title sometime this year.''
After listening to him on Thursday, Robinson believes he'll get his chance.
And win.
``I think so,'' Robinson said. ``I don't think the heavyweight division is that strong right now, so I think he can be the champ again.''

Recent NFL Discussions

NFL Trends Week 14 on Tue, Dec 2016 by Blade
pro play for mon. jets/colts on Mon, Dec 2016 by sharkey11
hey shark don't c any other way tonight on Mon, Dec 2016 by sharkey11
Pick Wiz 2H Play MNF on Mon, Dec 2016 by pickwiz

NFL Top Stories

Thumbnail Colts vs. Jets Prediction Will the Jets pull off the small upset tonight when they host the Colts on Monday Night Football at 8:30PM ET?
Thumbnail Colts vs. Jets Odds Week 13 of the NFL season concludes tonight when the New York Jets play host to the Indianapolis Colts at 8:30PM ET.
Thumbnail NFL Week 14 Opening Odds As teams jockey for playoff position and battle for division titles, here's a look at the opening odds for Week 14 in the NFL.
Thumbnail Panthers vs. Seahawks Prediction Will the Seahawks rebound off their loss to the Bucs when they take on the Panthers tonight at 8:30PM ET for Sunday Night Football?
Thumbnail Redskins vs. Cardinals Prediction Will the Redskins pull off the upset today in Arizona or will the Cardinals snap out of their current funk with a victory?

NFL Team Pages