Legacy and generation. Again and again, former UFC champion Vitor Belfort used those words to describe the inspiration and the appeal of a Triller pay-per-view headliner with former boxing champ Oscar De La Hoya.
On Sept. 11 at Staples Center, Belfort said the spotlight will be on fighters who paved the way for others, and the audience is generations of fight fans who’ve seen them go from young lions to young dinosaurs. Don’t confuse what Floyd Mayweather and Logan Paul did with what he and De La Hoya are doing, instructed “The Phenom.”
“I’m looking to fight the best guys,” Belfort told reporters before taking the stage for a press conference in support of the boxing match. “This is not an exhibition. It’s not a YouTuber here. We’re not talking about guys going there and putting on a freakin’ show. That is not me. There is no legacy.
“That is what [Floyd] Mayweather and the other kid with one loss and zero wins [did]. How embarrassing this [was] for a fighter to fight a guy like that. A guy like Mayweather, a great, great boxer. I take respect for Oscar. Oscar is jumping to fight one of the fiercest men in MMA history.”
Belfort has been absent from the cage for over three years, while De La Hoya hasn’t stepped in the ring in over 12. The attendance at the press conference was sparse, and the stakes of the fight – turned from exhibition to professional at the request of its participants – wasn’t clear.
Belfort, though, said the appeal of the fight is in watching two legends turn over new pages. He’s aiming to finish De La Hoya and then perhaps take out former heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield if Triller can make it happen.
They are clearly a part of a trend in celebrity boxing and freakshow matchups that are hosted online. But Belfort maintains they are doing something that’s never been done before. He dubbed himself “the Bruce Lee of MMA” and credited his star for allowing Conor McGregor’s. De La Hoya, he added, had made way for Mayweather.
“I see us as the Red Sea opener,” Belfort said. “We opened the Red Sea, we put a ring in the middle, and the show’s on Triller. So you cannot miss that.”
Triller hopes that statement is true as it moves beyond the business of promoting the Paul brand. After hitting paydirt with Tyson vs. Jones Jr. and Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren, the social media platform is branching out and testing the waters with new spectacles.
Belfort might have a fraction of Jake and Logan Paul’s social following, but where he promises to deliver is in the quality of action.
“You have two guys with big huevos,” Belfort said. “They’re fighters – they’re not YouTubers. We entertain, but we entertain for the real things.”
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