The show must go on.
Oscar De La Hoya had to scrap his comeback fight after he was hospitalized due to contracting Covid on Friday. The 48-year-old De La Hoya was due to face former UFC champion Vitor Belfort on Sept. 11 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The fight was set to headline a Triller pay-per-view.
The upstart boxing producer, however, has apparently salvaged the show, calling on yet another Hall of Fame fighter in Evander Holyfield to step in to face Belfort on Sept. 11 in a professional boxing match at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla, Triller owner Ryan Kavanaugh told BoxingScene.com on Saturday.
Holyfield vs. Belfort is contracted to take place for a maximum of eight rounds at two minutes each. The entire undercard, including boxing matches between UFC legends Tito Ortiz and Anderson Silva, an exhibition between David Haye and Joe Fournier, and a bout between Andy Vences and Jono Carroll, will all move to Florida as well. The show’s PPV pricing of $49.99 will remain the same as well.
The California State Athletic Commission refused to sanction the 58-year-old Holyfield to fight, CSAC head Andy Foster told BoxingScene.com, and therefore, Triller had to come up with an alternative strategy.
The four-time heavyweight champion Holyfield has not fought since 2011, but he’d been intending to make his return to the ring this year under the Triller banner.
After negotiations around a fight with Mike Tyson fell apart, Holyfield moved on determined to face former Tyson-conqueror Kevin McBride in an eight-round exhibition that was announced back in April for June 5 to provide chief support for the Teofimo Lopez Jr. vs. George Kambosos Jr. fight.
That lightweight bout, however, has been rescheduled several times, much to the dismay of Holyfield.
The Hall of Fame fighter filed an arbitration against Triller with the California-based Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services earlier this week seeking more than $5 million that he was owed for the McBride fight.
That case appears to be a moot point for now, as Holyfield is one week away from returning to the ring.
It wasn’t for the exhibition he originally signed up for, however. Holyfield now has a real fight on his hands that will count on his professional record.
Holyfield, a cruiserweight king till the late 80s, finished his career with 44 wins (29 KOs), 10 losses and 2 draws.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com