Chris Eubank Jr admits it was difficult to watch his hero Evander Holyfield get destroyed by Vitor Belfort on Saturday night.
In a controversial fight, legendary champion Holyfield returned to the ring at the age of 58, facing MMA star Belfort in a boxing match hosted by Triller.
Holyfield replaced Oscar De La Hoya on two weeks’ notice – and fears for the safety of the heavyweight legend were confirmed when Belfort, 44, stopped him in the first round.
The American was knocked down by the active Brazilian fighter, then received a barrage of punches before the referee correctly called the save.
Holyfield has become the latest legend to return in recent months, following in the footsteps of fellow icons Roy Jones Jr and Mike Tyson, who faced off last year, while David Haye was on the same card last weekend.
Organizers Triller were also largely responsible for the YouTube boxing scene which spawned internet sensations like Jake Paul and KSI as professional fighters.
While Eubank Jr has no problem with this new form of entertainment – the British middleweight star insists that pitting former boxers against current combat specialists is a step too far.
“It was a shame,” Eubank Jr told talkSPORT. “You have a legend, an icon in the sport, he shouldn’t have been in the ring.
“It’s one thing to have Roy Jones Jr and Mike Tyson in the ring fighting, but you can’t have a guy this age fighting an athlete like Vitor Belfort – who is an active MMA fighter and a good at that.
“If he comes in and does it with Roy Jones Jr or Mike Tyson, then that’s fine. But not with active fighters. It was a bad move and I hope he doesn’t do such a thing again, because he’s a legend and one of my heroes and it wasn’t great to see.
“Boxing is taking a new direction,” added Eubank Jr. “Not that the old school isn’t here, because it is and always will be.
“These YouTubers get in the ring and fight, KSI recently signed with my promoters. Who knows, maybe we’ll be on the same bill someday.
“It’s entertainment, they bring in a huge number that you just can’t deny.
“The following, these guys make people connect. They have eyes on boxing that weren’t on boxing before. That way it’s not a bad thing and I respect it.
“And they fight. You get a lot of wheelchair reviews saying it’s not good for sports and it’s gross. But they step into the ring, punch and get punched in front of millions of people.
“It takes balls, heart and courage that 99% of the population don’t have, including people who say they shouldn’t.”