Holyfield vs. Belfort fight results: Ex-MMA star knocks out Evander Holyfield, while Anderson Silva shines
Well, the good news is that no one got seriously injured. That's about the best thing one can say about Saturday's Triller Fight Club pay-per-view card from the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel in Hollywood, Florida.
MMA legend Vitor Belfort knocked out 58-year-old former heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield in the main event and Anderson Silva continued to raise his stock on the boxing side of his post-UFC combat career in one of the most bizarre fight cards in recent memory.
Let's take a closer look at what we learned following this circus from south Florida.
1. Triller is the bottom of the combat sports food chain
That's a distinction usually reserved for the multiple bare knuckle boxing promotions which have spawned in recent years, giving the chance at one final payday for faded fighters of all combat disciplines before retirement. But Triller created an all-new level of gross by being so willing to take a gamble on a senior citizen in Holyfield to replace 47-year-old Oscar De La Hoya on six days' notice even if it meant – and sadly, it did – moving the card to Florida on late notice after the California commission refused to license Holyfield. But if rolling out fighters who are long past their expiration date was the only sin committed by the promotion on this night, there wouldn't nearly be this much chatter. Somehow, Triller pulled that off plus a whole lot more of the bizarre and surreal including multiple live music acts, a video showing Snoop Dogg rapping with the late Marvin Gate, Donald Trump and his son, Don Jr., on an alternate commentary feed and its regular announce team drinking alcohol (which was a departure from comedian Pete Davidson joining Snoop Dogg in smoking marijuana on a recent show).
In addition, Belfort cut a pro wrestling-style promo in the interview before his fight urging Americans to make their country "great again" and he called out both Jake Paul and Canelo Alvarez after his victory, complete with a string of expletives as his family stood behind him nodding happily. Triller executives, openly inebriated, also interrupted Belfort's challenge to Paul by saying it would offer $30 million to the winner. In all honesty, boxing's history is filled with far too many extreme moments to try and clutch pearls and make too much of a stink about Triller being bad for the sport. There's only so much lipstick you can put on a pig. But one would be hard-pressed to find this many bizarre, unfortunate and outright cringe moments happening all on the same night without feeling like this is a giant step in the wrong direction.
2. Let's be happy for Holyfield it wasn't much worse
Forget for a moment how fit he looked standing inside the ring, any state commission that would've allowed Holyfield, who was one week shy of turning 59, to box a capable slugger with such a decorated history in performance-enhancing drug issues like Belfort is criminal. For everyone involved, let alone Holyfield, himself, let's just be thankful his first-round TKO loss was quick and largely painless. Holyfield argued after the fact that the knockdown he suffered before he was stopped on his feet was more the effect of a push than a clean punch landing. He also said multiple times that he wasn't hurt. Yet it was obvious right off the bat that this wasn't a competitive matchup. Belfort had fought at the elite levels of MMA as recently as three years ago. Holyfield, meanwhile, had been retired for a decade following a 27-year pro career which featured 57 fights and countless damage accrued for one of boxing's toughest warriors. In this fight, short of the paycheck, there was simply nothing to gain. Any level of debate regarding whether referee Sam Burgos made the right call in stopping the bout as Belfort was flurrying on Holyfield as he took shelter behind his gloves needs to stop immediately. Old guy fights always seem fun in theory but inevitably will get sad and dangerous should promoters continue to try and profit from them. The best thing that happened on this night was that Holyfield walked off on his own power.
3. Consider Anderson Silva the new face of the celebrity boxing era
It might be fair to say that the current trend of circus fights and celebrity crossovers began when the YouTube stars and social media influencing brothers, Logan and Jake Paul, decided throw their hat into the ring just a few years back. Both have taken the sport serious enough of late that each have headlined a Showtime pay-per-view bout and become legitimate boxing draws. But neither appear to be as dangerous at the moment within this bubble than Silva, the 46-year-old UFC legend. Three months after his upset of disgraced former boxing middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Silva set the internet on fire by knocking fellow former UFC champion Tito Ortiz out cold on Saturday with a counter right hand just 81 seconds into the opening round.
Silva (3-1, 2 KOs) has made the transition between combat sports with seeming ease and has retained a good amount of speed and reflexes to go with his boxing-ready footwork. Silva has looked so good, in fact, through two fights this calendar year that one has to wonder given his size and speed whether he's too dangerous for either of the Paul brothers to seek a fight against him. Either way, the event would likely be a blockbuster. Among all the entertainers, MMA fighters and ex-boxers who have made their way to the ring during this bubble, Silva looks the most equipped to keep doing damage should he decide to fight on.