by Dane McGuire
Much of the combat sports world was up in arms following 58-year-old Evander Holyfield’s loss to former UFC champion Vitor Belfort in Holyfield’s recent return to boxing, yet Holyfield considers the first-round stoppage a ‘bad call’ and is expected to fight again.
Belfort stopped Holyfield in under two minutes in their exhibition, despite it not being called an exhibition according to the promoter. Holyfield was originally set to face Kevin McBride in an exhibition.
As the promoter noted in an interview with The MMA Hour discussed below, the Belfort bout does not appear on the boxing database website BoxRec.com.
The streaming platformer Triller put on the event as part of it’s Triller Fight Club series of events and the co-founder has come to The Real Deal’s defense following criticism for putting together the bout in the first place.
“If you talk to Holyfield, what the world perceived happen, didn’t happen,” Kavanaugh said. “If you talk to Holyfield, Vitor apparently stepped on his foot, which I haven’t seen the footage yet, which made him trip and that’s why it looked like he fell. He swung really hard, which we all know that he did, and that was the knockout swing. Had he connected with Vitor, Vitor would probably still be in the hospital today, and [he] missed and put him into the ropes cause he swung so hard.
“Vitor came back aggressively but Holyfield is a notoriously slow starter. His strategy is let me get hit, let me see how he punches, and then I’ll come out with my returns. If you look closely at that footage, he was blocking. He said he got hit once. If you ask Holyfield, [Vitor] got one hit and the rest of it he was blocking. So the stoppage, in his opinion, was the problem, cause he’s like ‘I would have come back and I knew what I was doing..”
Following the bout, Holyfield was given a 30-day medical suspension by the Florida Boxing Commission.
Immediately after the fight, Holyfield said, ““I wasn’t hurt. The thing is, there wasn’t no shot that hurt me really bad. He’s strong and he got that shot and I was off balance. I think it was a bad call,” Holyfield said. “I think the referee shouldn’t stop the fight that quick.”
“No, I’m not hurt,” Holyfield added. “It’s kind of sad. It is what it is.”
Kavanaugh indicated another Holyfield fight could be in the cards in the future.
“We were not happy with a round 1 — they’re calling it a knockout, stoppage knockout, whatever you want — certainly not what we wanted to see, certainly not what the audience wanted to see. But I’m not sure yet if the end of the story has been written”, Kavanaugh said.
Holyfield turns 59 next month.