As expected, former President Donald Trump made his debut as a boxing analyst on Saturday night.
With a sarcastic remark.
Trump agreed to commentate on a four-fight program that featured Evander Holyfield, the former heavyweight champion who was making his comeback to the ring at the age of 58. The primary commentator highlighted the 20th anniversary of 9/11 at the start of the pay-per-view webcast and deferred to the former president.
“We had a very horrible week because of some very bad decisions that were made…,” Trump added, calling the anniversary of 9/11 “one of the most important days.” What happened in Afghanistan with 13 amazing fighters, many maimed, and many people murdered in the last few days should never have happened, and it’s a pity.”
Later, while waiting for the three judges’ conclusions after the first fight, Trump observed that he has seen a lot of terrible boxing judgments in his time.
“It’s like the elections,’’ he said. “It could be rigged.’’
However, on a night when Holyfield got stopped before the end of the first round at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, perhaps the most surprising thing of all is this: Trump mostly stuck to boxing.
Having hosted memorable fights at his casinos, Trump exhibited an enthusiasm for the sport, a decent knowledge of boxing and stamina. Which is to say he continued to mix it up with his son Donald Trump Jr. and guest commentators during the pay-per-view event that stretched almost 3½ hours long.
What he seemed to enjoy most was the adoring crowd, which broke out into chants of “We want Trump! We want Trump!’’ He rose to his feet and with a broad smile shook his fist.
But for most of the night, he did his agreed-upon guest commentary duties, offering insights and opinions. Some of the most notable came after Holyfield lost by TKO in the first round when the referee waved off the fight.
“Right from the beginning you could see it, he was not the same fighter,’’ Trump said. “He lost a lot. That left jab was very slow.’’
Holyfield did not leave quietly.
“So Evander’s complaining a little about it stopping. I think you probably had to, right?’’ Trump asked.
The commentators agreed but noted it would be hard for a one-time champion to accept defeat.
As Holyfield left the makeshift area, Trump said, “That’s probably the last time you will be seeing the great legend of Evander Holyfield, right? Probably the last time, in this capacity. I hope so, I hope so.’’
Trump seemed to be most familiar with fighters of the past – such as Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran and Mike Tyson. He he also talked about more obscure fighters, like Iran Barkley and James Toney. Yet despite his reminiscing about old fighters, he was familiar with two relative newcomers: Jake Paul and Logan Paul, the YouTube celebrity brothers who have energized the boxing scene.
Toward the end of the night, Trump was sitting next to UFC star Jorge Masvidal, who has traded barbs with Jake Paul and said he’d like to fight both brothers. Said Trump: “So the Paul brothers, we have Jorge and he wants to fight you and I think it would be an incredible fight.’’
The first two fights were mostly dull, and at times Trump’s commentary was lackluster, too. But he spiced it up with opinions. Such as being in favor of championship fights going 15 rounds rather than 12 rounds.
“I think it’s really hurt boxing,’’ Trump said, bemoaning the lost “championship rounds,’’ previously the 13th, 14th and 15th rounds before the change in format.
The fights were shortened after Kim Duk-koo died following a championship fight against Ray Mancini in 1982. Duk-koo lost by TKO in the 14th round and died five days after the fight.
Other things you probably never heard at a Trump rally: He’s a big fan of British heavyweight boxer Tyson Fury and he thinks Larry Holmes had the best left-hand jab.
Junior Dos Santos, a former UFC heavyweight champion, joined the Trumps as a guest commentator and spent a good portion of the time chatting with Trump as the cameras rolled and the fights progressed.
“I’m impressed with how much the gentleman knows about boxing,’’ Dos Santos said.
“We’ve had a lot of fights,’’ Trump replied, apparently referring to those he has staged rather than those he has fought.
Source: USA Today