THE abomination that is the September 11 ‘boxing’ event in Florida, headlined by Evander Holyfield vs Vitor Belfort, continues to sink to even greater lows the closer it gets to becoming a reality.
If it wasn’t bad enough that Oscar De La Hoya, 48, was preparing to fight mixed martial artist Vitor Belfort, 44, in a boxing match, 13 years after De La Hoya retired from the sport, we have also had to contend with news that friends David Haye and Joe Fournier will perform eight choregraphed rounds on the undercard, and that Evander Holyfield, 58, is now going to step in and fill the void left by a COVID-19-stricken De La Hoya in the main event.
But, as of Wednesday, September 8, that’s not even the worst of it.
Since then, in order to to get Holyfield licenced and the fight sanctioned, the event, originally scheduled for California, has had to be shifted to Florida, a state with zero regard for fighter safety, and Donald Trump – yes, that Donald Trump – has been announced as one of the event’s ringside ‘commentators’.
“I love great fighters and great fights,” said Trump of his commentary debut. “I look forward to seeing both this Saturday night and sharing my thoughts ringside. You won’t want to miss this special event.”
If that’s the fake news, the truth of the matter is this: there is nothing special about the event in question and all those sensible enough to swerve it will regret not a second of whatever it is they have missed.
In fact, given the bizarreness that pervades every aspect of it, the only guarantee we have at this stage is that everyone participating in the event appears content to push the limits of bad taste in search of whatever it is they feel is up for grabs – be it money, relevance, endorphins, or simply a fleeting reminder that, before civilian life made fun of their ego, they used to be somebody. Shown live on Triller, it is not a celebration of boxing, or great former champions, but instead a reminder of how, in retirement, things can go wrong for even the sport’s more successful fighters. It is, in the end, little more than a cautionary tale; a warning to younger, currently active boxers to think about the future and not assume relevance is permanent, the money pot is limitless, or that the good times always last.
So, if you must watch it, watch it on that basis – with that lesson in mind – only.