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Evander Holyfield's heavyweight reading list

Evander Holyfield delivers a knock-out reading list for CNBC.com. The former undisputed world champion in both the cruiserweight and heavyweight divisions is the only four-time world heavyweight champion. He retired in 2014.

Evander Holyfield
Gary Gershoff | WireImage | Getty Images
Evander Holyfield

It's been a busy summer. I've been traveling a lot. I went out to Las Vegas for the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight which wasn't pretty. In July, I went to Los Angeles for the ESPY Awards. It was good to see the show. There's an award for best fighter, so I'm glad that boxers can get some limelight. Though I travel a lot, I've also spent a lot of time in my home of Atlanta with my children. I wasn't that much of a reader early in life. I spent most of my time training and being focused on becoming the heavyweight champion of the world. But since retirement, I read more often.

Here are some books that I highly recommend:


The Bible

I read the Bible every night and when I travel. My favorite book is Psalms because it deals with all the important questions in life. It can help you through personal battles. Maybe that's why I like it – because I am a boxer and faced a lot of adversity in life. When I was young, nobody thought I could do what I did. And Psalms says to focus on what you're doing — make sure to persevere. I also like Proverbs because it says you have to find the good in everyone. And in Deuteronomy, it says that you can't make it without a savior. I read the Complete Personalized Promise Bible by James Riddle that goes through all the promises that God gives us like how he will bless us for our faith.

King of the World: Muhammad Ali and the Rise of an American Hero

By David Remnick

This is a good book about my hero, the great one, Muhammad Ali. I grew up wanting to be like Ali, and I studied his fights. I'm blessed to know him. In 1996, I passed the torch to Ali at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Atlanta. This book goes through all of Ali's fights and explains how he became a legend. It discusses how Ali was a rebel and outspoken, which got him in trouble. But I always admired his fearlessness. That's what you need as a boxer. Got to listen to your own heart and have no fear. When I was a teenager, I had three jobs, and no time for girls. I fought my first fights while I was tired. But I remembered what Ali said: You have to carry on.

Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela

By Nelson Mandela

I had a good relationship with Mandela. He was a boxer early in life and was excited to meet me when he came to Atlanta. Then I had a chance to meet him in South Africa. We kept in touch over the phone. This book explains his important life in detail, and how he had to struggle for freedom. He wasn't a perfect man but Mandela had to accept his own faults and learn how to forgive others. It was tough because he spent so many years in prison, it could have made him bitter.

Coined: The Rich Life of Money And How Its History Has Shaped Us

By Kabir Sehgal

My friend wrote this interesting book that says that money isn't the most important thing in life. It's a lesson that we all need to remember – don't get caught up in money because it's a false god.

Smoking Meat: The Essential Guide to Real Barbecue

By Jeff Phillips

We make good barbecue in the south. This book gives an overview of how to prepare meat in the right way and how to apply sauce. Dig in!

Commentary by former Heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield. Follow him on Twitter @holyfield.