A 58-year-old Evander Holyfield was stopped in the first round by former UFC champion Vitor Belfort on Saturday as Donald Trump commentated
This has to stop.
The modern boxing carnival of old men chasing lost dreams has to stop before there is a death in the ring.
On Saturday night in Florida, Evander Holyfield, once a warrior, stumbled and fell and was stopped in just 109 segundos of a terrible farce.
Holyfield is now 58, a veteran of 57 real fights in a very different boxing universe and a man condemned long, long ago for his slurred words, slow speech and obvious signs of physical and mental decline. Holyfield was last a force in boxing in 1999, the year of his second epic fight with Lennox Lewis.
Holyfield was over twice, fighting on memory and that is clearly as diminished as his old skills.
The once glorious fighter was bludgeoned, clipped and hit on the shoulders, head and elbows by Vitor Belfort, another exile from the UFC franchise, and a man with rudimentary boxing skills. It is not Belfort’s fault that some wealthy clowns and freak-show voyeurs encouraged this spectacle and offered a lot of cash. The people behind this awful event hired Donald Trump to work as part of the commentary team.
Belfort was just doing what he was paid for and I guess the same goes for Trump. The former president of the United States was behind the microphone, talking about boxing when other former presidents, the current president and world leaders were bowing their heads in respect and honour at the dead from the Twin Towers attack exactly 20 anos atrás.
The horrific and predictable spectacle in Florida was, você vê, actually sanctioned as a fight by the Florida State Boxing Commission. It would be funny if nobody was at risk and far safer if both were younger, dumber and further away from the edge of decline. This is not the Jake Paul circus of carefully calculated, celebrity fights; this is a business of death in the ring. Naturally, Belfort, que é 44, challenged Paul at the end; Holyfield, Enquanto isso, insists he wants a third fight with Mike Tyson.
Holyfield had moved like a man with his legs stuck in treacle all week as part of the promotion; he threw punches that barely beat their shadow as he tried to dance on flat feet that refused to move and his head rolled like he was trying to find the sweet spot in an invisible new pillow. He was obviously a danger – a danger to himself. He has been banned and refused a licence to box over the last decade or so. E ainda, the relentless promotion continued and Trump’s addition to the so-called “talent” on the night was as calculated and sad as Holyfield’s last stand.
It finished when the referee waved it off after 1.49 of the first round. The howls and screams and squeals of delight tell you enough about the people who bought tickets for this blood-event. The seemingly endless line of old men, chasing old glory, has to end before an inevitable wake. Take my word, when an old fighter dies or suffers a dreadful head trauma, after a stupid fight on this circuit, the modern business of boxing will take the hit, not the carnival hustlers selling this garbage.
Amazingly, the main event was supported by a comedy fight when David Haye, once the heavyweight champion of the world, beat his old friend Joe Fournier in a fun-loving exhibition that was billed as a real fight. It was not, it was just fun and a springboard for Haye to launch an attack and issue a challenge to current world champion Tyson Fury. This fun should not be confused with the Holyfield carnage.
Fournier and Haye laughed and patted and coaxed each other over the rounds. I hope they split a decent pot of gold for their entertaining, but totally unnecessary, exhibition fight. The challenge to Fury made some headlines, but then again, a rat’s tail floating in a bubbling fondue at a Michelin star restaurant also makes headlines.
Haye, a propósito, could become the over-40 world heavyweight champion. See what I did there? I invented a belt to dignify this shambles; the problem is the sanctioning bodies are one step in front of me. The men and women in control of the WBA, WBC, WBO and IBF, who are always scared to miss a money trick, are looking at ways to further legitimise this mad circus. Remember, last year when Mike Tyson and Roy Jones sparred in an exhibition dressed as a fight, there was a post-fight scramble to give each a belt.
Perhaps one of the greedy sanctioning bodies could build a coffin, using fancy leather, gold plate and a zillion cheap fake diamonds in preparation of a death. It will come, confie em mim, if men like Evander Holyfield are allowed in the ring with small gloves in so-called real fights. The list of culpable here is long and awful. It was no shock when Trump was announced as part of the team; it was all part of a boxing business I struggle to recognise.
On Friday night, at an ice-skating arena in Coventry, I was privileged to be ringside for what will probably be the British fight of the year. In the ring, fighting for something called the WBC Silver belt, local middleweight Sam Eggington narrowly defeated Bilel Jkitou, from France, sobre 12 savage but competitive rounds. It was the other side, the far side of a global boxing business that currently has few boundaries. The real world of boxing, the one where Eggington defends his belt, is thriving – the circus events are a product of the success.
Leave the popular phase and craze in boxing to the YouTubers and let’s prevent any more fallen heroes being used, abused and paid for their brutal exposure in the name of boxing. It has to stop. Por favor.