Belfort returned to the boxing ring this past weekend for the first time since his professional debut victory over Josemario Neves in 2006. In an extremely controversial matchup, “The Phenom” faced legendary heavyweight boxer Evander Holyfield. Belfort had originally been scheduled to fight former six-division world champion Oscar De la Hoya. After “The Golden Boy” was hospitalized following a positive COVID-19 test, “The Real Deal” stepped in on short notice.
Given that Holyfield is 58 years old, and had his license suspended by the NYSAC in 2004 for “poor performance and diminished skills,” many protested the bout. And as most had predicted, Holyfield was quickly put away inside the opening two minutes.
In the aftermath of his first combat sports appearance since his loss to Lyoto Machida in 2018, Belfort set his sights on Boxing’s newest sensation Jake Paul. The Brazilian put forward a $25 million winner takes all fight, which was later upped to $30 million by Triller co-founder Ryan Kavanaugh.
During a recent appearance on Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour, Paul addressed the offer. From first-hand experience working with them, “The Problem Child” suggested that Triller couldn’t put up that amount of money for a fight. He suggested the offer was simply made to bring publicity to Belfort and the promotion.
“I honestly didn’t think that was coming. And it’s surprising because it’s like, let’s be honest, we know that they don’t have that money to put up. So it’s smart on their end because they get the clout. Now, we’re talking about Triller. Now, we’re talking about Vitor. So that’s how this industry works. But we know that they don’t have that money, and so it’s very outlandish for them to say that. If they showed proof of funds and put the money into a bank account, it would be a whole different story. But we’ve worked with them, and we know that they don’t have that much money.”
When asked if he has any interest in a fight with the former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Paul said that Belfort isn’t even close to being the biggest name to call him out. However, the 24-year-old admitted that if Triller provided proof that they’d pay $30 million, a conversation surrounding the bout could be started.
“I mean, it’s a bit ridiculous. I mean, there’s better people out there. I mean, like you were saying, Vitor is not that big of a name. He just isn’t. He’s not even as big of a name as Tyron [Woodley]. So I’m trying to get bigger with each one of these fights. I’m trying to have more of a challenge. And I think Vitor is a lot easier of a fight than Tyron. He’s older, he’s on steroids, and such. But that doesn’t really excite me that much. The money excites me. If they would put the money into a bank account, an escrow account and show proof, then maybe that’s where the conversation could start. But it’s not as big of a fight as the 10 other people that are calling me out or that even we’re already talking to.”
Jake Paul was last in action against former UFC Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley on August 29. After being taken beyond the second round for the first time, “The Problem Child” further legitimized his venture into boxing with a split decision win over “The Chosen One.”
Perhaps the most likely next opponent for Paul at this stage appears to be Tommy Fury. The Englishman was in action on the same card as Paul vs. Woodley, emerging victorious against Anthony Taylor. Given the pair’s altercation backstage after the event, the groundwork has certainly been laid for a clash between Paul and Fury.
Who would you like to see Jake Paul face next? Should he fight Vitor Belfort?