IF there was any doubt about the credibility of boxing as a sport, then the recent debacle of the Evander Holyfield and Vitor Belfort fight removed it once and for all.

An aging pugilist against a younger former UFC champion.

It lasted all of 1:49 into the first round of a scheduled eight round bout.

Holyfield was punched, prodded, pummelled and ultimately pounded into submission.

A TKO stoppage after the referee stopped the fight, rescuing Holyfield from further punishment if not embarrassment.

Holyfield at least tried for heavy blows in the first round, but Belfort responded with a barrage of punches that knocked his rival onto the deck twice within a minute.

The Brazilian was relentless after Holyfield returned to his feet, bombarding the American legend until the referee had seen enough.

Holyfield, 58, had not entered a ring in more than a decade. Perhaps it should have stayed that way.

Belfort is 44. He is an MMA fighter who is tied for the most knockouts in UFC history but without any recent experience in the square arena. Nevertheless, he does possess wicked hand speed and some sting in his punches.

Oscar De La Hoya himself is no spring chicken at 48. He was one of boxing’s legends before his retirement in 2008.

Holyfield agreed to the bout when Belfort’s original opponent, De La Hoya, was incapacitated with Covid -19.

Adding to the absurdity, the fight was originally scheduled for Los Angeles, but the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) would not approve it.

Undeterred, the entire event was transferred to Florida where the fight was sanctioned, as part of the Triller Fight Club pay-per-view card from the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel in Hollywood, Florida.

“I‘m not hurt,” Holyfield said after the defeat.

“It is what it is. I think it was a bad call.”

Regardless, boxing pundits agreed Holyfield would not have lasted much longer if the fight had continued.

Former US President Donald Trump said in commentary: “You could see right from the beginning he was not the same fighter.

“He had lost a lot. That left jab was very slow.

“We said from the first minute you could see immediately that that was not Evander. There was no snap.

“It’s so unusual to see because we have watched him for a big part of our lives just win.”

Trump flew down the east coast of the country and was the prominent celebrity when the first fight of the night began.

Both Trump and his son, Donald Jr., acted as commentators for the event, adding some questionable legitimacy.

It was revealed this week Trump was reportedly earning an “obscene” amount of money to grace the broadcast with his presence and pugilistic expertise.

Boxing guru Dan Rafael described the fight as “rock bottom” for the sport of boxing.

There is no doubt that Holyfield cut a mean figure for a man of 58.

But appearances are deceiving. Especially up against a better cut specimen of 44.

Surely, in a world of insanity, desperately clutching onto any novelty value or perhaps even sadistic curiosity, sanity should have prevailed and the fight called off.

All are to blame. The fighters, their managers, the commissions, the promoters, television networks and a perverted public.

Sport must not discriminate against age. However, these novelty events are just one brain bleed away from humiliation.

Perhaps only then will common sense prevail.


Image via foxnews.com

« Back to Articles