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The 13th Round - Aging Bull - Evander Holyfield vs Vitor Belfort

Here's a pretty cool sentence to type out...

It's 2021, and Evander Holyfield is fighting tomorrow night in a sanctioned boxing match that will have live commentary by President Trump and his son. 

And at 58 years of age, there's a salient argument that Holyfield shouldn't be.

I was scheduled to sit down with "The Real Deal" earlier today on Zoom for The 13th Round, but his handlers canceled last minute.

I had to submit my questions beforehand… Which is not uncommon.  And I made it clear that a few of those questions I was not willing to edit or delete.

Believe me, I could talk to Evander for HOURS about what he has accomplished in his Hall of Fame career… This legend reigned as the undisputed champion at cruiserweight in the late 1980s and at heavyweight in the early 1990s and remains the only boxer in history to win the undisputed championship in two weight classes in the three belt era.  

Derek White. Shutterstock Images.

(They just don't hand out statues.)

However, it felt hypocritical to not concentrate on questions and concerns mainly surrounding this weekend's bout.

But apparently, what I was asking was a little more than his team wanted to comment on, so they walked away.

No harm, no foul.

For the record, here were my questions:

  • After all that you have accomplished, Champ, why the hell aren’t you just retiring?
  • So is this an athlete who just can't shake the thrill of competing, or is this a money thing?
  • I think for your opponent, a win sets him up to fight maybe a guy like Jake Paul down the line… But will a win for you give you the motivation to keep going?… Or is this your last sanctioned fight?
  • Tyson Part 3.
  • When people who support you say, “Let the man choose if he wants to fight!”… But that’s not how boxing works… There are commissions that make the final decision.  Does it concern you that California thinks this is a bad idea?
  • You’re about to turn 59 next month and haven’t fought since 2011… Just looking at you, you still look to be in great shape, but when was the last time you were punched in the face?
  • And why are you able to do this?… Throughout your 17-year boxing career, you boxed 443 total rounds against some of the hardest punchers in history.  What makes you able to keep getting hit?
  • Should we be worried about the short training camp?… Or are your skills so hardwired, it’s become a plug-and-play situation?
  • Let’s talk about the actual fight now… You have a 2-inch height advantage and loads more experience, but Belfort is still a combat sports athlete that packs a powerful punch. How do you see this one going?… Can you drag him around the ring for 8 rounds, or do you need to try and get him out of there early?
  • Do you still possess the speed to trap Belfort along the ropes for a knockout?
  • Do you think the move from traditional 10 or 12 three-minute rounds to only 8 two-minute rounds will make a difference?… Because I see that could benefit your opponent more.
  • Getting away from your fight and looking to boxing as a whole… We have another undisputed cruiser stepping up to fight with the big boys… Usyk vs Joshua in a couple of weeks.  No one in history made that leap as successfully as you did, but do you think Usyk has the stuff?
  • Where do you rank the heavyweight division right now, compared to your prime?

None of them seemed out of line to me, but what do I know?

So the fact remains that Holyfield is turning 59 next month, and is fighting a 44-year-old former UFC fighter named Vitor Belfort who looks like a fucking juiced-up MONSTER.

Michael Reaves. Getty Images.

The fight was originally scheduled to take place in Los Angeles with Oscar De La Hoya as Belfort's opponent.

But last week, when Oscar canceled due to COVID and a 58-year-old stepped in his place, the California Boxing Commission said, "Fuck no!"  

Meanwhile, the Florida Boxing Commission said…

Giphy Images.

Normally, I would say a good boxer always beats a new boxer when it comes to these weird crossover matchups.  The only exception was Chavez Jr dropping a fight to Anderson Silva earlier this year… But Chavez Jr is also a bum, so I will take that result as an outlier. 

And another outlier might be when that good boxer is 15 years older than the new boxer… AND those 15 years put that same good boxer near 60 years of age.

I am hoping for the best for Evander tomorrow night… If this fight took place 10 years ago, it wouldn't be close.  And there is still a chance Holyfield will go on auto-pilot and show fans something more than he has shown in recent training footage.

In Holyfield's defense, this footage was towards the end of the workout, but Evander's lack of "pop" on the mitts was still enough to flip Belfort over to being the favorite on the Barstool Sportsbook (at last check, Vitor was -200).

But boxing has been littered with its fair share of tragedies in the past couple of years, and God forbid, but if this turns tragic, it was a tragedy that was easily avoidable.

Best of luck, Evander.

Take a report.

-Large


There is a real fight on the horizon that doesn't involve steroids or stars… On September 25th, Anthony Joshua will defend all of his titles versus former unified cruiserweight champ, Oleksandr Usyk, who scares me.

Giphy Images.

I sat down with Joshua last week and had a great chat… Will drop that closer to the date.

TAR.

-L