Belfort vs Holyfield: A Night Of Shame
Boxing has had many low points in its long and often not so glorious history. It is difficult to know where the moral compass line is anymore. But just maybe, this past week or so has reached a new low. Yet again, we have seen that boxing has no shame.
Another young fighter lost her life doing what she loved. A tragedy at any time. But those in search of the dirty dollar should have been reminded just how dangerous this brutal sport is.
A blatant drug test failure is washed over, worked around, so a fight can still go ahead as if we are all too stupid to know what has transpired. Maybe we are stupid, or worse, we just don’t care anymore.
But to add insult to the ultimate price paid, the sad spectacle in Florida on Saturday night, probably gave boxing its most permanent black eye.
When YouTuber’s and the likes of Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr start legitimising what they do, it also encourages others to follow in their heavy slow footsteps.
David Haye at 40 outpointing his mate Joe Fournier and then calling out Tyson Fury can be passed off as a comedy moment, although I’m not quite sure what it was. But what followed took a dark morbid turn. As bad as it was, and trust me, it was horribly bad, it could have been so much worse.
Evander Holyfield, nearing 60, was wheeled out of a long retirement at short notice to face an MMA fighter well into his 40s and was predictably as farcical and dangerous as it looked prior. People actually paid to watch it. Why?
Holyfield folded quickly, to the surprise of absolutely nobody, a truly sad and horrible watch. The former heavyweight champion complained it was stopped too early. It should never have started. You didn’t need the benefit of hindsight for this one.
Tito Ortiz another former MMA star was knocked senseless by Anderson Silva, barely warrants a mention. That should be the story on any other night. That’s just how shockingly awful it was.
Holyfield and Ortiz vowed to carry on. Boxing will no doubt find a way to let them. Holyfield wants a third fight with Tyson, of course he does. If Ortiz looks at Holyfield he will see what his future looks like. Neither should be granted a license to fight anywhere ever again. It’s that simple.
There has been some criticism at the outlets who covered this whole charade, and no doubt the clicks it generated made it more than worth their time. Their own conscious will have to decide how they sleep at night. They undoubtedly help sell such events, but if they have to cover nights like this, and I do mean if, at least be honest about what is being sold. Some did to their credit, others just rolled up camera in hand and counted the clicks with glee.
The fact that it was, eventually anyway, put down as a night of exhibitions, doesn’t justify it or excuse it. Boxing sold itself down the river in many ways.
Oscar De La Hoya, the original opponent for Belfort, was bad enough, Holyfield the replacement was an indefensible substitute.
When the California Commission refused to sanction the latest night of shame to hit boxing, the promoters just packed their money bags and the travelling circus off to Florida, who did give the event it’s blessing. Of course they did.
Sadly this won’t be the end, while people continue to watch and give their money obligingly, there will be more. It will only end when there is no more money to be made, or far worse, when we have another fatality. But even that, isn’t likely to stop this sorry and never-ending abuse of the elderly.
Boxers have always needed protection from themselves, but we have surely reached the point where the sport itself needs protecting. It was depressingly sad and regrettable. Next time, and there will be a next time, those that promote it might have actual blood on their hands. Will that change anything, of course it won’t.
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