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Holyfield vs Belfort an exhibition: What it means

Lee Cleveland Updated
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Following his COVID-19 diagnosis, fight legend Oscar De La Hoya, 48, has been forced to pull out of his September 11th boxing match with UFC legend Vitor Belfort, 44. As a result, Evander Holyfield, 58, will take his place. However, unlike De La Hoya vs Belfort, which was sanctioned as a full-scale professional fight, Holyfield vs Belfort will be an exhibition.
The California State Athletic Commission refused to sanction Holyfield-Belfort, sources told ESPN's Marc Raimondi.
The answer is simple: Evander is just 13 months shy of 60 and hasn't fought in over 10 years, and the commission would likely be held accountable if he got seriously hurt.

Question: What if the fight takes place in another state?

Even if the bout is moved to Florida (and it probably will be) don't expect that state's commission to sanction Holyfield vs Belfort as a real boxing match either. However, unlike California, Florida might allow it to take place so long as it's an exhibition.
And no, exhibitions aren't like real boxing matches. Not only are they not included in a fighter’s win/loss record, but such contests are also usually glorified sparring sessions where neither guy aims to unleash a lot of hurt. And in the end, no winner is announced or the contest is ruled a draw a la Mike Tyson vs Roy Jones last year.
The above stated, Triller's Ryan Kavanaugh told ESPN the fighters' contracts call for pro-fight rules contested over eight two-minute rounds but, again, exhibitions are usually cordial contests where unwritten agreements are par for the course.
So, don't expect Evander or Vitor to step on the gas on September 11 but, because both men want more fights going forward, they'll try to be as entertaining as realistically possible.
Of course, a gentlemanly affair could turn into an all-out brawl. Holyfield or Belfort could snap in the ring if he believes his opponent is breaking the unwritten rules of engagement, such as punching too hard or too often.
.... But a friendly, competitive scrap, like Tyson vs Jones, is the more likely outcome. Should Holyfield and Belfort fight with bad intentions during their exhibition, it would be a rarity in boxing history.

And because more casual fans are starting to understand the intent of exhibitions and how they differ from real boxing contests, interest in this fight will be markedly lower than De La Hoya vs Belfort.
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