MMA legend Vitor Belfort claimed a swift victory over boxing royalty last night as he TKO’d former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield at Triller’s latest circus-like boxing event, but few fans will feel good about what they witnessed here.
The 58-year-old Holyfield had come in on less than two weeks notice to replace Oscar De La Hoya, and even a pre-fight workout for the cameras earlier in the week had led to concerns that the boxer had no business stepping into the ring, regardless of the opposition, due to his slow, labored punches and unsteady movement.
Some had hoped he was just playing it up for the cameras and would look different on fight night, but unfortunately that was not the case.
Just a minute into the exhibition fight Holyfield was already tottering back on his heels trying to maintain his balance as Belfort pressured him and swung for the fences.
That only spurred Belfort on and he started to put together punches and bunches, and when Holyfield attempted to retaliate with a left hook, ‘The Phenom’ ducked underneath it and ‘The Real Deal’ lost his balance, falling half-way through the ropes.
It was painfully obvious already that Holyfield wasn’t fit to fight, but Belfort wasn’t about to go easy on him and so as the action restarted he threw a hard left and then landed a clean uppercut that sent Holyfield to the canvas.
That should have been the end of the charade, but unfortunately Holyfield got back to his feet and was allowed to continue, with Belfort immediately going back to work with punches to the body and head until the referee mercifully stepped in to wave off the fight and save Holyfield from further unnecessary punishment.
So, Belfort gets a big name win in the boxing ring, but there was little to celebrate here and the organizers and fight commission that gave this match-up the go-ahead should hang their heads in shame.