After a year of MMA fighters crossing over into boxing and getting largely clowned, Vitor Belfort joined Anderson Silva as one of the few earning a W in the ring against Evander Holyfield at Triller’s September 11th event (watch the highlights here).
Alas, he won’t get too much credit for beating up a clearly over the hill Evander Holyfield, who was saved by the referee a mere minute and a half into their bout. Holyfield was 58 and needed Triller to re-locate the card from California to Florida in order to get licensed. As great as he used to be, you just can’t snatch too much glory out of a win like that.
But Belfort was still extremely happy with the way things turned out, as he explained during the Triller post-fight press conference.
“I’m very proud to be able to have this opportunity, to have Mr. President and his son come here, entertain us all, providing his time with all of us,” Belfort said. “Fighting on this card with great fighters. I’m very blessed right now.”
“You’re never judge by how many victories you have, you’re judged by the guys you’ve fought, the fights that you’ve fought. When you say ‘I’ve went to the Vietnam war,’ you gotta respect that warrior, no matter what side it was. So a warrior respects another warrior, it doesn’t matter. Martial arts teaches something different than boxing. Boxing is a sport, an art as well. But martial arts teaches you, you are only judged by the people you competed against.”
“Sometimes you have a beautiful record, but you haven’t faced the greatest. So for me to be able to compete with Holyfield. I remember when I was fighting, I was the youngest champion fighting two times, two guys same night. Holyfield was fighting for $30 million dollars to fight Tyson. And you used to fight, you have to win $50,000 to beat two guys, no weight divisions, no organization back in the day.”
“So it’s a privilege, boxing has been my top martial arts, I love it the most. To be able to transition and be able to come here and fight one of the greatest, the greatest heavyweight of all time was a phenomenal opportunity for me.”
Belfort made it clear that he intended to keep boxing with Triller, but it was unclear who would be next. Belfort called out Jake Paul and Canelo Alvarez, two long shots due to inter-promotional politics. He also sounded interested in re-booking a fight with Oscar De La Hoya, which we think sounds like the most likely scenario.
Further into the future? Belfort imagines a situation where perhaps the MMA vs Boxing playing field can be leveled a bit with modified rules.
“I’m looking for us MMA fans to really fight boxers in a fair way that brings advantage for us as well,” Vitor said. “Because the clinch, where we do the boxing, the MMA is different. I hope we can grab the neck, push, grab the face. I’m not talking about spinning punches because boxers cannot handle that very much, it takes time to do it. But I’d like to make some legendary fights where you can bring the grabbing part, the push, make it more free in the clinch.”
“That’s something that would intrigue the fans and the fights would be huge. Big fights can be broken. I think Triller can shift the industry. Because when you combine both sports on the same night, the same rules? The amount of content and people will see something different. But until that happens, I will box boxers.”