Holyfield returns to the ring tonight against UFC legend Vitor Belfort in his first professional fight for more than a decade
Evander Holyfield has revealed his children questioned why he is returning to the ring at the age of 58.
The former heavyweight world champion will make a comeback tonight when he takes on former UFC star Vitor Belfort over eight rounds in Florida.
The fight will be sanctioned and will be Holyfield’s first professional bout for more than a decade.
His decision to step in at a week’s notice after Oscar De La Hoya was forced to pull out after contracting Covid-19 has been heavily criticised.
And of his children, of whom he has 11, Holyfield said: “This is the first time my kids ever told me… ‘Dad, you don’t need to be getting hit’.”
Belfort himself is fighting in a boxing ring for just the second time – and Holyfield is confident that will stand him in good stead.
“At least I’m fighting somebody that I know I can protect myself [against],” he told ESPN . “The whole thing’s about protection. You don’t become a good fighter until you know how not to get hit…. I know all the things that’s necessary to be safe.
“It’s kind of hard to turn down a big sum of something when you know you can do it. Plus you’ve got to understand, they saying fight somebody who boxing ain’t his thing.”
Concerns over Holyfield have grown this week after a lacklustre performance in his media workout on Wednesday.
He then made several mistakes during his press conference, including forgetting the venue of one of his biggest fights. He was also seen slurring his words during an interview.
And having weighed in more than a stone heavier than Belfort last night, Holyfield struggled to answer the questions put to him, failing to coherently provide a prediction for fight night.
But he remains fixated on a third fight with Mike Tyson which goes some way to explaining him accepting the bout with Belfort.
Tyson is expected to be in attendance in Miami tonight having shared a controversial rivalry with Holyfield during their prime – including the infamous ‘Bite Fight’.
Tyson himself made his return to the ring last year when he ‘drew’ with Roy Jones Jr in an exhibition bout.