In his main event fight with Vitor Belfort at Triller Fight Club, Evander Holyfield thought he deserved a longer leash.
On Saturday, Holyfield, a famed former boxing champion, fought for the first time since 2011 at Hollywood’s Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Late in the first round of the fight, he was stopped by TKO.
Belfort, a former UFC light heavyweight champion, got right to work, as he has done in the past. He stunned and knocked Holyfield out with an uppercut. The 58-year-old was able to go back to his feet, but it was difficult for him to fully recover as Belfort continued to pressurize him with blows.
The referee observed Holyfield struggling to regain his composure at the time, and Belfort was not relenting, so he stepped in and waved it off while Holyfield was still standing. Holyfield was irritated by this. During his post-fight interview with Todd Grisham and 50 Cent, he voiced his belief that he still had more to show.
“I wasn’t hurt,” Holyfield said on the broadcast. “The thing is, there wasn’t no shot that hurt me really bad. He’s strong and he got that shot and I was off balance.”
Holyfield elaborated and downright slammed the referee’s work.
“I think it was a bad call,” Holyfield said. “I think the referee shouldn’t stop the fight that quick.”
For many observers, watching Holyfield step back into the ring was both a nostalgic and concerning moment. He turns 59 next month, and has had problems receiving licensure dating back nearly 17 years. The Florida State Athletic Commission approved him to step into the ring, though.
There was a legitimate fear something true bad could happen to Holyfield prior to stepping in the ring, and he confirmed afterward that he felt in good physical condition.
“No, I’m not hurt,” Holyfield said. “It’s kind of sad. It is what it is.”
Source: USA Today