Fans concerned after Evander Holyfield training footage emerges
The 58-year-old will return to the ring this weekend
Fans have expressed concern after footage of Evander Holyfield emerged, in which it is claimed the legendary heavyweight boxer looks slow and unsteady ahead of his return to the ring.
The 58-year-old has stepped in as a late replacement for Oscar De La Hoya, who pulled out of his fight against Brazilian ex-UFC star Vitor Belfort after contracting coronavirus.
Holyfield has looked in good physical condition ahead of the bout, but fans have suggested otherwise upon seeing footage of the 58-year-old hitting the pads.
— Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) September 8, 2021
"I feel sad watching this, not excited," wrote one Twitter user.
Another said, "This is nothing but sad."
Others made reference to Holyfield's apparent slow and unsteady approach.
"I love these slow mos of great fighters… wait. What?!"
The clash between Evander Holyfield and Vitor Belfort is a Triller Fight Club promotion being streamed live Saturday night on FiteTV in the UK.
Former US president Donald Trump will commentate on the fight alongside his son, Donald Trump Jr.
Boxing pundit Chris Mannix took aim at Triller for allowing the fight to go ahead, rather than pointing the finger at Holyfield himself.
Evander Holyfield, a month shy of his 59th birthday, being allowed to fight is shameful. Triller went commission shopping. California said no, Florida, which has no real rules, said yes. Now a man approaching senior citizen status will have his head targeted. Awful.
— Chris Mannix (@SIChrisMannix) September 8, 2021
On the same card, David Haye will go up against his billionaire pal Joe Fournier in a 'Battle Of Brothers', while ex-UFC stars Tito Ortiz and Anderson Silva swap the octagon for a more traditional four-sided ring.
Haye is coming out of retirement after three years away, and has faced his fair share of critics for doing so, but there is a clear difference between him and Holyfield, 58, who last fought professionally a decade ago.
The 40-year-old Londoner has come out in support of Holyfield, however. Speaking to Switchbox TV, Haye said:
"Evander is someone I'm so honoured to call a friend, we've travelled the world, enjoyed some fantastic times and to step in at this short notice to headline the night...
"He truly is the 'Real Deal', boy, I'd love to share the ring with him, I mean seriously, to feel his power, wow, it's stuff dreams are made of!"
— Triller Fight Club (@trillerfight) September 9, 2021
Even as far back as 2005, Holyfield was under pressure to call it quits after suffering three straight losses, but he continued to fight on until 2011, when he defeated the Dane Brian Nielsen in Copenhagen.
Holyfield has hit back at critics who claim his fight shouldn't go ahead.
"I feel good about it [the fight]," Holyfield told MMA Fighting earlier this week.
"I was training and was in shape enough that I feel that I could do it."
The fight has been certified as a fully professional bout by the Florida Athletic Commission, meaning the result will go on Holyfield's official record.
It will comprise eight two-minute rounds of heavyweight boxing.