After a year of MMA fighters switching to boxing and largely clowning, Vitor Belfort joined Anderson Silva as one of the few to win a W in the ring against Evander Holyfield in the 9/11 Triller event (watch the highlights here).
Alas, he won’t get too much credit for clearly beating Evander Holyfield, who was saved by the referee barely a minute and a half into their fight. Holyfield was 58 and needed Triller to move the map from California to Florida in order to get a license. As good as it was, you just can’t get too much glory out of a win like this.
But Belfort was still extremely happy with the turn of events, as he explained during Triller’s post-fight press conference.
“I am very proud to be able to have this opportunity, to have the President and his son come here, entertain us all, volunteering his time with all of us,” said Belfort. “Fight on this map with great fighters. I am very blessed at this time.
“You are never judged by how many wins you have, you are judged by the guys you fought, the fights you fought. When you say “I went to the Vietnam War” you have to respect that warrior no matter which side he was on. So a warrior respects another warrior, whatever. Martial arts teaches something different from boxing. Boxing is a sport, an art too. But martial arts teach you that you are only judged by the people you have fought against.
“Sometimes you have a good track record, but you haven’t faced the greats. So for me to be able to compete with Holyfield. I remember when I was fighting, I was the youngest champion fighter twice, two guys on the same night. Holyfield was fighting for $ 30 million to fight Tyson. And you used to fight, you have to make $ 50,000 to beat two guys, no weight division, no organization back then.
“So it’s a privilege, boxing has been my best martial art, I love it the most. To be able to make the transition and be able to come here and fight one of the greatest, the greatest heavyweight of all time has been a phenomenal opportunity for me.
Belfort has made it clear that he intends to continue boxing with Triller, but it was unclear who would be next. Belfort called Jake Paul and Canelo Alvarez, both long shots due to the inter-promotional policy. He also seemed interested in re-booking a fight with Oscar De La Hoya, which we think seems like the most likely scenario.
Further into the future? Belfort imagines a situation where maybe the MMA vs Boxing playing field can be leveled a bit with changed rules.
“I’m looking for MMA fans to really fight boxers in a fair way that also benefits us,” Vitor said. “Because the clinch, where we box, MMA is different. Hope we can grab the neck, push, grab the face. I’m not talking about throwing punches because boxers can’t handle that much, it takes time to do it. But I would like to do legendary fights where you can bring the gripping part, the push, make it freer in the melee.
“It’s something that would intrigue the fans and the fights would be huge. Great fights can be broken. I think Triller can change the industry. Because when you combine the two sports on the same evening, the same rules? The amount of content and people will see something different. But until that happens, I will be boxing boxers.