- Hollywood superstar Kevin Hart and poker pro Antonio Esfandiari have agreed to a boxing match scheduled for March, 2019
- Will the fight actually take place?
- Will Hart’s tenacity be a match for Esfandiari’s considerable reach?
As an actor, Kevin Hart has fought international terrorists, trained assassins, and stampeding rhinos. But in March, 2019 he’ll face his biggest challenge yet when he steps into the ring with three-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Antonio Esfandiari.
The 39-year-old poker pro shared the news with TMZ Sports on Monday in an impromptu interview. “Kevin Hart and I were playing poker the other day, and somehow boxing comes up,” he disclosed. “So, we made a bet. And, in March we are going to box in a ring.”
It’s unclear how much money is on the line or if the event will even be televised, but what we do know for certain is that Hart is giving Esfandiari 35/1 odds. That’s a generous total from a man who’s barely bigger than a fire hydrant, but Hart clearly believes he’ll prevail when the big day finally arrives.
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Esfandiari’s surprise announcement raises more questions than answers, but we’ll do our best to address them all.
Odds the fight will actually take place: 5/1
We’re all guilty of making stupid bets with our buddies, but in most cases reason and sobriety prevent us from following through with them. Hart and Esfandiari’s arrangement has that kind of feeling. The two friends likely made the bet during a moment of male bravado, and it’s easy to imagine them coming to their senses and putting an end to the ill-conceived stunt before it takes on a life of its own.
This fight can only serve to sully Hart’s carefully-constructed image and will surely be shut down by his managers and agents in due time.
This kind of fight would have made sense for Hart ten years ago when he was still trying to make a name for himself, but the 39-year-old entertainer is now starring in blockbusters alongside Dwayne Johnson, Ice Cube, and Will Ferrell and commands $10 million per film and up to $1 million per stand-up show. This fight can only serve to sully his carefully-constructed image and will surely be shut down by his managers and agents in due time.
Odds Kevin Hart will win if the fight happens: 2/3
Hart may be smaller than most eighth graders, but he’s a fiery and tenacious athlete who consistently rises to the occasion. That’s been evident on his popular YouTube fitness series, What the Fit, as well as at the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game, where he was named the event’s MVP four straight times from 2012-15.
Hart is also a huge boxing fan, who is personal friends with Floyd Mayweather and Evander Holyfield, and regularly laces ’em up as part of his intense fitness regime.
Esfandiari has seen Hart’s sweat-soaked workouts up close and freely admits that his diminutive friend has a tremendous advantage over him. “Kevin’s in much better shape, he’s an athlete, he’s fast as hell,” he told TMZ Sports. “I’ve got a little reach, but he’s fast, he’s quick, and he’s strong.”
Those sound like the words of a man who’s already conceded defeat.
Odds the fight will end in a knockout: 100/1
Hart and Esfandiari are both close friends, so it’s unlikely either will try to pulverize each other in the ring. If the fight does indeed happen, it will end with both men still standing and still on speaking terms.
Odds the fight will be broadcast: 1/3
Anyone who regularly visits Hart’s social media feeds knows that there’s little he doesn’t share with his 60 million plus followers. His life is an open book and he routinely posts candid videos and photos from around the world.
— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real) February 7, 2018
Esfandiari doesn’t have enough cachet to attract a major television network, but if this fight takes place, Hart will undoubtedly live stream it on one of his many social media platforms or strike a deal with a lesser cable station. Either way, if the fight happens, you’ll be able to see every second of it.