EXCLUSIVE: Evander Holyfield in Triller offer to replace Teofimo Lopez

Evander Holyfield

Former four-time heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield and fellow Mike Tyson-conqueror Kevin McBride, who are already under contract to meet in an exhibition bout on a Triller Fight Club pay-per-view card later this summer, have notified Triller that they are willing to fill in on short notice and take the place of the postponed Teofimo Lopez-George Kambosos main event on Saturday night, Holyfield adviser Kris Lawrence told World Boxing News.

“We heard earlier today that the Lopez-Kambosos fight was off because Lopez tested positive for Covid, and Evander immediately said if they’re looking for somebody to fill in, he is ready and willing. So he’s ready, and McBride’s camp said they’re ready also. So Evander said he’s been in the gym. We were supposed to fight on June 5, so Evander’s been in the gym. He doesn’t ever stop training.”

Lawrence said he spoke to McBride representative Ken Casey after hearing from Holyfield and that Casey said McBride would also be willing to fight on short notice.

Lopez and Kambosos were due to headline a Triller Fight Club PPV event Saturday night at Miami’s loanDepot Park, the MLB’s Miami Marlins home stadium. But the card was postponed on Tuesday because Lopez tested positive for Covid-19 in Las Vegas, where he has been training, forcing the event to be postponed.

“Teofimo Lopez has symptomatic Covid-19, which was confirmed this (Tuesday) morning after testing,” Triller Fight Club said in a statement. “The Triller Fight Club card, including the main event, is rescheduled to August 14, 2021.”

But Lawrence said Holyfield and McBride are ready to go now and could save the show.

“(Triller) just rescheduled the fight from June 5 for a later date, but these guys are ready to go now,” Lawrence said.

Holyfield is already in South Florida because it is where he lives, and McBride had both been due to make appearances at Lopez-Kambosos to promote their fight. Now, they would just fight instead – Lawrence said.

Lawrence said he spoke to Triller chief Ryan Kavanaugh and told him about his idea.

“We’re just waiting to hear back from them, but we told them that we’re ready and able to fill in if needed,” Lawrence said. “(Kavanaugh) just said he would get back to me.”

Lawrence added that he told Kavanaugh that because of Holyfield’s name recognition and popularity that he believed the pay-per-view would sell better with the heavyweights on top than if Lopez-Kambosos was still on.

“I told him it would obviously make it a global watch instead of a local watch,” Lawrence said.

If the event moved forward with Holyfield-McBride as the new main event, Lawrence reasoned that it would mean the undercard fighters would still get to fight and earn money and that many of the expenses already laid out for the promotion would not go to waste, be it any deposits made for the show with the stadium, the musical acts performing on the event, hotels, and transportation, not to mention the television production team already on site.

“To me, it’s kind of like a no-brainer,” Lawrence said. “I think South Florida would respond well.”

Among the undercard bouts scheduled for the show was Franchon Crews Dezurn versus Elin Cederroos for undisputed women’s super middleweight title; a WBA heavyweight title elimination bout between Michael Hunter and Mike Wilson; junior lightweight Andy Vences against Jono Carroll; and blue-chip junior middleweight prospect Charles Conwell, a 20016 U.S. Olympian, against Mark DeLuca.

Evander Holyfield Kevin McBride
FITE / Triller

EVANDER HOLYFIELD vs. KEVIN MCBRIDE

Evander Holyfield and Kevin McBride were initially due to meet in an eight-round exhibition bout consisting of two-minute rounds without headgear on the undercard of Lopez-Kambosos when it was originally scheduled for June 5.

Ultimately, Triller Fight Club moved the event to June 19, mainly to avoid conflict with the Floyd Mayweather-Logan Paul exhibition on June 6 at nearby Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. When Triller rescheduled Lopez-Kambosos for Saturday, Holyfield-McBride was taken off the card, and Triller said it would be rescheduled for a date later in the summer.

The 58-year-old Holyfield (44-10-2, 29 KOs), the only four-time heavyweight titleholder in boxing history and two-time winner over Tyson in huge world title fight pay-per-views, has not fought since stopping Brian Nielsen in the 10th round in his home country of Denmark in May 2011. He had hoped to meet Tyson again in an exhibition, but he was matched with McBride when their negotiations fell apart.

McBride (35-10-1, 29 KOs), an Ireland native based in Brockton, Massachusetts, was a career journeyman except for one big night in Washington, D.C., in 2005, when he scored an upset sixth-round knockout of Tyson and sent him into retirement. McBride, who turned 48 in May, went 2-6 thereafter and retired in 2011.

Dan Rafael is a lead boxing contributor for World Boxing News. Follow Dan on Twitter @DanRafael1. Dan Rafael is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.