After knocking out Evander Holyfield in short order for Triller, Vitor Belfort has set his sights on boxing stars on complete opposite ends of the competitive spectrum: Jake Paul and Canelo Alvarez.
Belfort ultimately wants to compete in mixed-rules events that allow clinch work and other techniques used in MMA. But until Triller makes that happen, he wants big paydays against big stars.
At the post-fight press conference, Belfort campaigned for his promoter’s offer of a winner-take-all $30 million fight between himself and Paul. He upped the number to $40 million for a meeting with Alvarez, the current unified super middleweight (160 to 168 pounds) champion. But Paul is his preference.
“He deserves it,” said Belfort, who’s previously accused Paul of ducking a fight. “Because he’s choosing his opponent. He’s working with a guy I used to work with, Lorenzo [Fertitta, our ex-UFC owner]. He’s picking his fight. Now, he cannot say no to me. He’s got to say yes. We’ve got to teach him a lesson.”
Belfort, who competed against Holyfield as a heavyweight (over 200 pounds) and earned a first-round TKO, favors a meeting with YouTube star-turned-cruiserweight boxer Paul.
“If he says no, all his little fans, I’m going to create a YouTube channel and they’re going to follow me,” said Belfort. “Yeah, they have to follow me. We’re going to entertain all his fans, because he doesn’t have morals. He doesn’t have family values. He doesn’t represent the fighters.
“Someone has to give him a whip – that’s me. … I’m his father. I’m going to put him on my lap. He’s going to meet daddy, big daddy. … You watch. I promise you. He’ll say, ‘Big Daddy.’”
After a pair of appearances under the Triller Fight Club banner, including a pay-per-view headliner opposite MMA star Ben Askren, Paul signed a contract with Showtime Boxing, which promoted his most recent headliner against ex-UFC champ Tyron Woodley.
A meeting between Belfort and Paul or Alvarez would take some significant wrangling between their prospective promoters. Alvarez is also scheduled to defend his multiple titles against Caleb Plant in November. But Belfort believes money solves all of those problems.
“Canelo, I want $40 million,” Belfort said. “It’s on the table. How do you say no to $40 million?”
If business hurdles to the fights prove to be too high, Belfort said he’s also willing to revisit the matchup he was supposed to take on Saturday. Holyfield was a short-notice replacement for ex-boxing champ Oscar De La Hoya, who was ruled out of the fight due to a battle with COVID-19.
Belfort echoed his coach in expressing skepticism about the circumstances surrounding De La Hoya’s withdrawal despite video evidence of the illness that scratched the fight.
“He’s the happiest man on the planet now, my friend,” Belfort said. “He saw what happened. I was coming for him.”
Belfort competed for the first time since a knockout loss in the UFC signaled the end of his run with the MMA promotion. At 44, he retained the fast hands that made him a threat in the octagon.
For several years, Belfort has pushed for a veterans’ league in MMA, and he may have found a version of that now in Triller.
“My dream is to mix a little bit of rules where we can grab,” he said. “I’m looking forward us MMA fighters to really fight boxers in a fair way that brings an advantage for us, as well, because the clinch, where we do the boxing in MMA, is different. Hopefully you can grab the neck, grab the face. I’m not talking about spinning punches, because boxers cannot handle that very much. But I want to bring some legendary fights. The fans would be huge. I think Triller can shift the industry. … Until that happens, I will box boxers.”
This article was originally published on www.mmafighting.com