The Real Deal Takes The Fight To South Florida | Faces Vitor Belfort

Photo: @holyfield/ Twitter

Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield is back to boxing, on a significant stage. The former undisputed cruiserweight and heavyweight champion will face Vitor Belfort Saturday, September 11th.

Triller will stream the fight live from Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Tito Ortiz vs. Anderson Silva is also on the card.

Subsequently, Holyfield is a last-minute substitution for former boxing great Oscar De La Hoya. The Golden Boy CEO contracted COVID-19 and had to drop out of the competition.

What’s The Real Deal

However, Holyfield, who has been itching for a return fight, stepped in to face the former UFC light heavyweight champion, Belfort. The battle was initially supposed to take place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

However, according to multiple reports, the California State Athletic Commission would not sanction the 58-year-old Holyfield for a boxing match.

Instead, the Hard Rock, which has its own sanctioning body through the Seminole tribe, gave the green light.

The Holyfield-Belfort fight reportedly will be eight two-minute rounds. However, what is still unclear is if the match is a pro fight or an exhibition match. The Belfort-De La Hoya boxing match began as an exhibition event and eventually evolved into a pro fight.

Triller has pioneered the boxing exhibition event spectrum with their inaugural Triller Fight Club feature of Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones, Jr in November 2020.

Ironically, Holyfield claimed that he invented the exhibition match first and was surprised when Tyson chose Jones over him.

Veteran Matchup

Holyfield had not fought professionally in ten years. His last match was in May 2011 when he scored a TKO victory over Brian Nielsen in Denmark. Notoriously, Holyfield was the recipient of the infamous ear bite from Mike Tyson in 1997.

The two fought twice, once in 1996 and again in 1997; Holyfield won both pairings. He retained the WBA heavyweight title in the rematch when the referee ruled Tyson disqualified for biting off a portion of his ear during the fight.

Notwithstanding, Holyfield is an excellent replacement for De La Hoya based on the numbers. Holyfield has sold over 12 million pay-per-view buys over the 13 PPV events he has headlined.

Vitor Belfort is a bonafide UFC star. The Brazilian announced his retirement from mixed martial arts after a May 2018 knockout loss to Lyoto Machida at UFC 224. Afterward, a few months later, he told his return to competition for Singapore-based ONE Championship.

Unfortunately, a fight never happened, and he isn’t with the promotion anymore. Belfort has only had one professional boxing match in his over twenty-year professional combat sports career. In 2011, Belfort was the now infamous front kick victim that floored him to a finish in a UFC Middleweight Championship bout against Anderson “The Spider” Silva.

Ironically, De La Hoya has not fought since December 2008, a full ten years less than Belfort. After the COVID announcement, he posted that he still contracted the virus, although he was fully vaccinated.

Moreover, De La Hoya lost the superstar of his Golden Boy Promotions boxing outfit when Saul “Canelo” Alvarez departed the company. De La Hoya announced his intention to return to the sport as an athlete not too far after.

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.