When Bernard Holyfield (right) was 5 years old he owned a dog named Lassie—a collie that looked just like the fictional dog on television.

At StoryCorps, he tells his friend Charles Barlow (left) how he learned skin color mattered after Bernard and his younger brother, Evander (who would go on to one day become the heavyweight boxing champion of the world), were playing in the yard and a drunk started harassing Lassie.

Originally aired January 18, 2013, on NPR’s Morning Edition.