Will the boxing match between Evander Holyfield and Vitor Belfort count as an official fight, or will it be relegated to exhibition status? There’s no certain answer.
The Florida Athletic Commission, which is overseeing Saturday night’s Triller Fight Club event in Hollywood, announced earlier this week that the Holyfield-Belfort headliner was approved as a fully regulated professional boxing match to be conducted under the Unified Rules of Boxing. However, there’s still a chance it will be an exhibition.
According to ESPN on Friday, Holyfield, who is 58 and competing for the first time in 10 years, is concerned about the fight counting toward his official record. Should Triller decide to make the fight an exhibition, the promotion has until before the bell rings to inform the commission.
Triller co-founder Ryan Kavanaugh indicated that the promotion ultimately will honor Holyfield’s wish.
“If Holyfield doesn’t want this to go on his BoxRec (boxing’s official record keeper) due to his age, we’ll allow him to make the decision and still follow all the other rules,” Kavanaugh told ESPN. “… We’ve spoken to Holyfield and Vitor and the commission. No matter what, this will be scored as a pro fight, there will be a clear winner, and it will be treated with pro rules.”
Holyfield, a former heavyweight champion with a 44-10-2 record, accepted the fight last week after Oscar De La Hoya, Belfort’s original opponent, was forced to withdraw when he was hospitalized with COVID-19.
The event originally was set to take place at Staples Center in Los Angeles, but the California State Athletic Commission would not grant Holyfield a license, prompting the last-minute shift to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in South Florida.