It’s yet another left-field card at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida this Saturday night, as Triller again market a crossover card. Oscar De La Hoya was forced to withdraw from the main event, so in steps Evander Holyfield to take on Vitor Belfort in the main event.
The card can be seen on Fite TV, and has been moved from Los Angeles, where 58-year-old Holyfield was unable to obtain a licence to box.
The bizarre contest takes place at heavyweight, where ‘Real Deal’ Holyfield served as a four-time champion of the world. That was an entire lifetime ago though, and a faded version of Holyfield (44-10-2, KO29) finally called time on his career over ten years ago, his last appearance a tenth round stoppage of fellow faded force, Brian Nielsen, in Denmark in May 2011.
He ruled as undisputed cruiserweight champion, before a move to the land of the giants saw him knock out James ‘Buster’ Douglas in 1990 to become unified heavyweight world champion. He would reign three more times, fighting the greatest of his generation including the likes of Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson, but a dull trilogy with John Ruiz, where the pair split the three fights, signalled the beginning of the end.
After a win against Hasim Rahman, Holyfield would lose three on the spin to Chris Byrd, James Toney and Larry Donald, but he would refuse to give up on winning another world title. Four low key wins set up a shot at WBO champion, Sultan Ibragimov, but Evander was widely outscored, and in his next fight, he pushed WBA champion, Nikolai Valuev, all the way in a tight points reverse. That would be his last shot at glory, and he won two more contests before retirement. The fire has always burned though to return, and a mooted fight with former Tyson conqueror, Kevin McBride, didn’t come to fruition. He now takes on Belfort (1-0, KO1) over a scheduled eight rounds. The 44-year-old from Brazil is better known for his MMA credentials. where he ruled as UFC light heavyweight champion in 2004. He would challenge three more times for gold at light heavy and middleweight, without success, before he retired in 2018, knocked out in two rounds by Lyoto Machida in Rio. Belfort has dipped his toe in the boxing ring way back in 2006, knocking out fellow debutant, Josemario Lopez inside a round in his homeland.
Prediction: Contests like this are so hard to predict, but you have to side with the vast experience of Holyfield, who, if he can get past the first couple of frames, can take a decision win.
Another man that seemingly had retired is David Haye (28-4, KO26) but the lure of a big payday has tempted him to fight once more. He takes on his friend Joe Fournier (9-0, KO9) in an eight round heavyweight attraction. Haye allegedly is being paid more than he did for his last two contests against Tony Bellew, with his last in May 2018 putting the final touches on a career that gave him unified cruiserweight gold and a run as heavyweight world champion. Haye was a shell of himself in a fifth round stoppage defeat to Bellew, and the time looked right to retire. Fournier is more businessman than boxer, and turned pro in the Dominican Republic in 2015. He even appeared on a Haye undercard at the O2 in London in 2016, but then failed a drug test in Belgium after a win over Mustapha Stini and was banned for four years. He continued to box in the Dominican until April this year, where he retired debutant Andres Felipe Robledo Londono after two rounds.
Prediction: Haye may well be looking to just cash in here, and enhance the career of his friend instead. It wouldn’t surprise me if Fournier came away with his hand raised after eight rounds.
Yet another novelty match comes at cruiserweight, where two former UFC champions meet over a scheduled eight. Former UFC middleweight champion, Anderson Silva (2-1, KO1) meets former UFC light heavyweight champion, Tito Ortiz, who is making his boxing debut. Silva made a boxing debut way back in 1998, retiring after a round, but scored a knockout win on his return in 2005. He stunned Julio Cesar Chavez Jr last time out, taking a split decision win over eight. Both men are 46, so this could well be a tough watch, and I favour Silva to get the job done, possibly on the cards.
Relevant boxing takes place at super featherweight, where Jono Carroll (19-2-1, KO5) continues his rebuild following his surprise August 2020 defeat to Maxi Hughes. The Irishman takes a ten rounder against tough Californian, Andy Vences (23-2-1, KO12). Carroll is also a former world title challenger, stopped by Tevin Farmer in an IBF title tilt in March 2019, and he should still have too much for Vences here, who is coming off a split decision loss to Luis Alberto Lopez Vargas over ten in July 2020.
Prediction: Carroll can win this one over the distance.