• September 27, 2021

Exclusive: ‘Beyond sad’ – Fighters and pundits disturbed by ringside footage of Evander Holyfield’s knockout loss to Vitor Belfort

 Exclusive: ‘Beyond sad’ – Fighters and pundits disturbed by ringside footage of Evander Holyfield’s knockout loss to Vitor Belfort


Evander Holyfield’s stoppage defeat to Vitor Belfort on Saturday night did not sit well with most fans, fighters and pundits alike.

The legendary 58-year-old former champion was a shell of himself as he stepped into the ring in Florida, being floored and stopped inside the first round.

Holyfield was knocked down and stopped in a cruel couple of minutes

AFP

Holyfield was knocked down and stopped in a cruel couple of minutes

The ringside footage made for sad viewing

The ringside footage made for sad viewing

Initially, the contest was supposed to be between Oscar De La Hoya and Belfort at the Staples Center in LA, however De La Hoya was ruled out due to COVID.

On two weeks’ notice, Holyfield jumped in.

The California Commission took issue with this and refused to sanction the contest, even as an exhibition.

This was no major issue for organisers Triller though as, due to America’s system being made up of numerous commissions, they simply moved the event to a state which would agree to sanction it.

The fight was a tough watch

Getty Images – Getty

The fight was a tough watch

Step forward Florida.

Patrick Cunningham, Executive Director of the Florida State Boxing Commission, confirmed in a statement on fight week that the bout had been approved as a fully regulated professional boxing match

According to him, all of the boxers on the card successfully met all requirements to be licenced.

In the end though, the fights were not professional and Holyfield vs Belfort took place as an unofficial exhibition of eight, two-minute rounds, as per the fight contracts.

Holyfield was once a great champion

Getty Images – Getty

Holyfield was once a great champion

The result of the exhibition was bad enough, but the fact the Florida Commission were willing to sanction it as a pro contest caused further concern.

Ringside footage of the knockout drew great criticism online.

Boxing News Editor Matt Christie wrote: “Awful, horrible spectacle. No more. Please, no more.”

talkSPORT’s Ade Oladipo added: “What a f***ing disgrace.”

The referee made the correct decision to end it early

Getty Images – Getty

The referee made the correct decision to end it early

Calvin Watkins of the Dallas News said: “Evander Holyfield is a great fighter. Hall of Famer. Why he’s still doing this? Why? It’s sad.”

While former world champion Ishe Smith reacted: “This is beyond sad. Father Time defeated Evander a long time ago. Who the hell thought at 58 it would be different?”

Ashley Theophane said: “Holyfield never should have been in the ring in the first place. Shame on the promoter and commission for allowing this.”

And Michael Eaves of ESPN concluded: “This should have never happened.”

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