Former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield is back. The 58-year-old returns to the ring for the first time in a sanctioned bout since 2011 when he battles former UFC star Vito Belfort on Saturday night at Hard Rock LIVE at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida(FITE PPV/Triller Fight Club).
Holyfield replaced Oscar De La Hoya, who was forced to withdraw after testing positive for Covid-19. The Atlanta native was scheduled to fight Kevin McBride in June, but that fight was postponed.
According to Holyfield, he’s in shape and will be ready for Belfort.
“I’ve been training for over two years because there were fights mentioned against other fighters,” he said. “I realize now as I prepare to face Belfort I’m in good shape, and I don’t get out of shape…
“I think I look alright, but this is after two years of solid training.”
Many are opposed to seeing Holyfield in the ring, but throughout his career, Holyfield has always defied the odds and plans on doing that against Belfort.
“When I was young, I didn’t have any bad habits, and so I’m older now and feel good,” Holyfield said. “I learned my whole life you’ll never be successful in life if you don’t take chances; that’s throughout my whole career.”
Should we have concerns about Holyfield entering the ring for a sanctioned bout at age 58? Probably, but fortunately for him, he will be fighting a 44-year-old Belfort, who is a novice when it comes to boxing, so maybe it won’t be too bad. Plus, it’s two-minute rounds, which helps.
In my opinion, Triller and the Florida commission will do everything in their power to make sure Holyfield doesn’t get hurt, but it’s the fight business, so anything can happen.
We’ll see what both Holyfield and Belfort have left on Saturday night.
Photo: Amanda Westscott/Triller Fight Club
Former boxing world champion Oscar De La Hoya will return to the ring to face former UFC Superstar Vitor Belfort in an exhibition bout on Saturday, September 11 in Las Vegas as part of the new TrillerVerz, the first-ever festival bringing together the power of Verzuz and Fight Club into one massive weekend festival, Triller announced on Thursday.
TrillerVerz is a partnership developed between Triller-owned Verzuz and Triller owned Fight Club bringing together the cultural phenomenon the two have created throughout the music and sports worlds.
“I am ready to return to the ring and I am proud to be part of Triller and Verzuz and their game-changing model of reimagining the boxing business as four-quadrant entertainment,” De La Hoya said. “I have nothing but the utmost respect for a champion like Vitor Belfort as we show the world what high level boxing is all about.”
“It was incredibly important to me my comeback was on this date as it represents such an important moment in history for me, my fans and the words culture. This is much bigger than just me and this event, for all those with ties and or roots in and to Mexico.”
“It will be a pleasure to represent MMA again, this time in the ring against one of the biggest names in the history of boxing,” Belfort said. “It will be a war not to be missed and a fight my kids will be talking about. This is certain to make combat sports history.”
Known as ‘The Golden Boy’ the 48-year-old De La Hoya won 11 world titles in six weight classes, including the lineal championship in three weight classes as well as being an Olympic gold medalist. He’s one of the best drawing boxers in the sport’s history and was named The Ring magazine Fighter of the Year in 1995, and was its top-rated fighter in the world, pound for pound, in 1997 and 1998.
He announced his retirement as a fighter in 2009, following a professional career spanning 16 years.
Brazilian MMA fighter Belfort, 44, is known to fight fans as “The Phenom” for his explosive striking power that helped him secure the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship title and tie for third for the most finishes in UFC history. His fights became part of two of the biggest all-time best-selling UFC Pay-Per-View events in a successful career that includes fighting in UFC’s Heavyweight, Light Heavyweight and Middleweight divisions, fighting for the Strikeforce, Pride and Affliction promotions and winning the Cage Rage championship.
The full festival lineup and details will be announced shortly accompanying the world class boxing card.
Jake Paul proved once again that he can be pretty effective in the ring as he remained undefeated after scoring a first-round TKO over former Bellator and OneFC Championship champion Ben Askren at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Saturday night.
Paul(3-0, 3 KOs) landed a straight right hand that dropped Askren(0-1) midway through the first round. Askren would get back on his feet, but the referee felt he could not continue and called off the fight at the 1:59 mark of Round 1.
The 36-year-old Askren made his boxing debut on Saturday night and did not seem too upset after the loss, but he thought he would have put on a better performance.
‘It’s unfortunate,” he said. “I really thought I could do better.”
Paul, who is coming off a second-round knockout win over former NBA player Nate Robinson, felt the fight against Askren would be easier than his victory over Robinson, and he was right.
“I said it the whole time,” Paul said. “This fight was going to be easier than Nate Robinson, and no one believed me per usual. At one point, I was the underdog… I’m not going to let yall forget that”
What’s next for Paul? Who knows, but many celebrities, MMA stars, YouTubers, and boxers would like to get into the ring with him based on his popularity. Look, in reality, Paul has decent skills. Can he beat a legitimate boxer? Probably not at this point, but who knows. However, Triller will probably find another MMA fighter to get in the ring with Paul.
Hate it or love it, Triller puts on a good show that can appeal to the casual fight fan. The night included performances by Justin Bieber, The Black Keys, Doja Cat, Saweetie, Diplo, Major Lazer, and the world premiere of the hip hop supergroup Mt. Westmore (Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Too $hort, and E-40) performing for their first time together. So, the star power was there on Saturday night.
It should be interesting to see what type of pay-per-view numbers this show produces. Mike Tyson-Roy Jones Jr. did over a million pay-per-view buys, and based on the social media buzz, Paul-Askren might have done just as well at the box office.
Photo: Triller Fight Club