Evander Holyfield is stepping back into the limelight for the first time in 10 years to fight Vitor Belfort in a boxing match later tonight (Sat., Sept. 11, 2021) live on FITE TV pay-per-view (PPV) and his family is a little concerned.
Holyfield, who turns 59 next month, is a complete shell of his former self. Despite logging some of the most historic heavyweight rounds in the history of the sport Holyfield did not look like the “Real Deal” earlier this week when he showcased his current boxing skills for media members. In fact, the combat community seemed to collectively cringe after witnessing Holyfield’s atrocious pad work.
Fight fans are not the only ones showing signs of concern for Holyfield as he meets a former UFC champion looking to add to an already legendary career of devastating knockouts. Holyfield’s kids, who have seen their father fight the likes of Mike Tyson, George Foreman, Larry Holmes, and Lennox Lewis, are worried that Belfort might land more punches then he should.
“This is the first time my kids ever told me… ‘Dad, you don’t need to be getting hit,’” Holyfield told ESPN.
So why is Holyfield fighting? If he hasn’t competed in 10 years, is nearing 60 years of age, and doesn’t appear to have much of anything left in the tank, why is “Real Deal” strapping on the boxing gloves to fight a rejuvenated Belfort?
“You are absolutely right,” Holyfield said. “At least I’m fighting somebody that I know I can protect myself [against]. The whole thing’s about protection. You don’t become a good fighter until you know how not to get hit…. I know all the things that’s necessary to be safe.”
“It’s kind of hard to turn down a big sum of something when you know you can do it. Plus you gotta understand, they saying fight somebody who boxing ain’t his thing.”
Boxing may not be Belfort’s “thing,” but the former UFC champion is one of the most dangerous knockout artists in the history of MMA. Over the course of 26 career MMA wins Belfort has recorded 18 equally-devastating knockouts. “Phenom” will have some adjusting to do as he crosses over to the boxing ring, but his hand speed and punching power are still relevant. More so than a 58-year-old Holyfield coming off his couch.
All of that said, this fight has still been sanctioned by the Florida Athletic Commission and fight fans will come in droves to pay out of pocket to watch it. Holyfield may not be in condition to go deep into a main event fight with Belfort, but there’s always a chance he pulls something out of his arsenal and surprises fight fans everywhere.
Mania will deliver LIVE coverage of the FITE pay-per-view (PPV) main card RIGHT HERE, kicking off at 7 p.m. ET.