The five-time heavyweight champion of the world has been working with youths in the northwest of England during a visit to the UK.
Holyfield visited youngsters in Toxteth, Liverpool and Hyde in Greater Manchester as part of his mission to work to help channel young people's energies in a positive way.
Holyfield who was himself raised in a ghetto neighbourhood in Atlanta, Georgia told Sky News: "I came from that background, you are angry, you are mad, you have something to prove.
"If you are going to use your hands then get into boxing or martial hands, some form of entertainment and get paid for it.
"Do something with your life that will allow you to get the glory."
Holyfield has now teamed up with many other fighters, including Ricky Hatton, and former Liverpool gangster Stephen French.
Holyfield added: "We are asking the kids to put down the guns and join the martial arts, the boxing, these things that allow you to be back in the prescence of great people with honour."
Holyfield also made time to attend some of the Olympic boxing in London and was astounded by the success of Team GB.
"You won more medals than you ever won ever - they did great and they did it fairly," he said.
"The boxing was sensational, the first year they let women in, first one to win a medal it was just a great performance."
Before his professional career Holyfield boxed in the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984.
"I became an Olympian because I saw someone from the ghetto win a gold medal," he said.
"Once they'd won it I realised that me being poor me, being from the ghetto, I could do it."
Approaching his 50th birthday, Holyfield still believes he has one last big fight left in him.
Talks are under way to try and stage a bout with one of the Klitschko brothers, possibly in Africa.
He admits it is a long shot but would relish one more show and the payday it would bring.
If it did happen many would be worried about the kind of beating he may take from one of the giant Ukrainian brothers.
But without a hint of irony, he finished the interview saying: "I'm Evander Holyfield, they call me the legend. "
Believing in himself, and the hype, is what made him a champion.