Former President Donald Trump, who knows a lot about fighting — within both the moderately polite confines of the boxing ring and the no-holds-barred world of politics — will provide commentary for a boxing event taking place Saturday at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, according to ESPN.
The headline bout of the night is a heavyweight fight between Evander Holyfield and Vitor Belfort.
Holyfield, 58, is stepping in as a replacement for Oscar De La Hoya, who tested positive for COVID-19. Belfort, 44, is a former UFC light heavyweight champ.
Trump will be joined by his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., in providing “no holds barred” commentary during an alternate telecast of the four-fight event.
— FITE (@FiteTV) September 7, 2021
“I love great fighters and great fights,” the former president said, according to ESPN. “I look forward to seeing both this Saturday night and sharing my thoughts ringside. You won’t want to miss this special event.”
The video streaming service Triller announced that the Trumps will comment on all of the fights: Holyfield vs. Belfort, Anderson Silva vs. Tito Ortiz, David Haye vs. Joe Fournier and Andy Vences vs. Jono Carroll.
Trump was a major figure in the boxing world of the 1980s, hosting many big bouts at his casinos.
He was inducted into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame in 2015 and the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame in 2018, according to Newsweek.
“During the 1980’s Atlantic City was the capital of the Boxing World and Donald Trump had a lot to do with it, including many of Mike Tyson fights,” the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame wrote in summing up Trump’s importance to the sport.
In 2017, Tyson said Trump was a major force in the sport, according to Newsweek.
“Listen, he paid me $11 million to fight that night,” the former heavyweight champ said of his bout against Leon Spinks. “He was putting on the biggest events in boxing. Atlantic City wasn’t the way it is now. It was a booming city then.”
“Donald Trump was very good for boxing in New Jersey,” said Larry Hazzard, a former New Jersey boxing commissioner, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. “You can’t rewrite the history.”
“I put on these fights because I’m a fan,” Trump said in 1988. “I do it because I like it. It’s exciting. People really react to it. You wouldn’t see this kind of excitement at the opera or ballet.”
His impact on the boxing world extended into his time in the White House.
In 2018, the then-president issued a posthumous pardon to black heavyweight champion Jack Johnson, who in 1913 had been convicted of taking a white woman across state lines for immoral purposes.
During the event, Trump called Johnson “a truly great fighter” who “had a tough life” and later spent 10 months in prison “for what many view as a racially motivated injustice,” according to The New York Times.