Evander Holyfield may have been in magnificent shape for a man of his vintage, but ‘The Real Deal’ should have been thinking about pensions and not punching.
In a deeply sad and grim spectacle, a 58-year-old Holyfield was dropped and stopped in the opening round by former UFC champion Vitor Belfort at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, on Saturday evening.
The bout felt like boxing hitting rock bottom with Holyfield, a late sub for another comebacking legend Oscar De La Hoya, understandably a shell of his former self a month away from his 59th birthday.
Staggered early by a southpaw left and subsequently bundled through the ropes (with no knockdown ruled), it was immediately apparent that Holyfield, like Triller Fight Club’s viewers, had no place being there.
Soon afterwards, the younger and fresher Belfort dropped the sluggish former heavyweight champion with a sweeping left uppercut. Holyfield rose out of sorts and was soon overwhelmed and covering up from the ensuing barrage when referee Samuel Burgos thankfully intervened.
The debacle lasted just 109 seconds and should really cast serious doubt on any more fights featuring former greats campaigning in their fifties before someone is seriously hurt. This is Triller and veteran boxing’s ‘No Mas’ moment.
Fighters are, of course, always the last to know they have had enough and afterwards Holyfield was locked in denial.
“The guy’s strong, but I wasn’t hurt,” Holyfield told Triller Fight Club’s Todd Grisham. “The thing is, it wasn’t no shot that really hurt me real bad. He was strong and he hit me with a shot, and I was off-balance. And then he bumped me with his shoulder.
“[It’s] kinda sad, but it is what it is. I think it was a bad call. I think the referee should chill out. He shouldn’t stop the fight that quick.”
Earlier, Anderson Silva emphatically knocked out fellow UFC veteran Tito Ortiz in the opening round and Dublin southpaw Jono Carroll shrugged off a damaged right eye to decision fellow 130lbs contender Andy Vences – scores were 97-93 (twice) and 95-95.
Main image: Triller Fight Club.