Many of you were probably as befuddled as I was when 58-year-old Evander Holyfield agreed to step in to replace the COVID-stricken Oscar De La Hoya and fight Vitor Belfort. The pair will meet in the center of the ring this Saturday as part of Triller Fight Club’s event in Florida.
The card was originally slated to take place in California, but the State Athletic Commission refused to license Holyfield because of his age. His age has also become a cause for concern, and understandably so.
“The Real Deal,” however, doesn’t seem to be worried.
“The thing is, I have more experience in boxing,” Holyfield told MMAFighting.com’s Mike Heck. “But the fact of the matter is, I’mma have a problem if I was gonna do the MMA with him, ‘cause that ain’t what I do. But I know that I do boxing and I took care of myself really well.
“I’ve been doing boxing since I was eight years old. I ain’t gonna come down there and wrestle them guys and all that. I don’t want to watch for a foot or a chokehold, grabbing my arm and breaking my arm. I won’t take a chance.”
The 44-year-old Belfort does have the advantage in age, and that he’s dealing with fewer pre-fight restrictions compared to his later years in the UFC. Holyfield knows what his opponent brings to the table, but he’s banking on his experience.
“The fact is that I went with an MMA guy, who… hey, he do a couple of things right,” Holyfield said of Belfort. “He knows how to throw the punches, he can deliver hard shots, but I can do more. And I just bring more to the game because of the years of doing it.”
Holyfield last saw action ten years ago against former IBO champion Brian Nielsen. He won the fight via tenth-round TKO. The Florida commission has sanctioned this fight with Belfort as a professional match, scheduled for eight 2-minute rounds.
Also part of the event is Anderson Silva’s return to the ring against fellow ex-UFC champion Tito Ortiz.