Antonio Esfandiari Beats Kevin Hart in Boxing Match
Poker pro Antonio Esfandiari won his exhibition boxing match and his prop bet with comedian Kevin Hart. The 40-year old Esfandiari used his height and reach to defeat the 39-year old Hart, who had prior boxing experience.
No one released the amount of the prop bet, though it was a 35-to-1 bet. Antonio Esfandiari entered the bout as a huge underdog. Not only did Kevin Hart have boxing skills, but both fighters admitted Hart was the better athlete.
When the two announced the fight four months ago, Esfandiari said he was the favorite “to break his ribs or nose”. He showed up to the bout bulked up, which surprised those involved. The 3-time WSOP bracelet winner trained seriously for the boxing match.
Leading up to the fight, Esfandiari told Card Player magazine he would rely on his longer reach and height to keep Hart at bay. He held a significant height advantage and much longer arms. Esfandiari stands at 6’0″ tall, while Kevin Hart stands 5’4″.
Esfandiari v. Hart I
Recently, Antonio Esfandiari explained how the bout happened. He told TMZ, “Kevin Hart and I were playing the other day and, somehow, boxing comes up. We were hanging out — we weren’t really playing. And someone boxing comes up. So we made a bet and, in March, we are going to box in the ring…at 35-to-1 odds.”
“I got 35 to 1 odds. Kevin’s in much better shape. He’s an athlete. He’s fast as hell….I have the reach. I have a little bit of weight, but he’s fast and quick and strong.”
His larger stature and time spent learning basic boxing skills gave him the tools and cardio for an upset win. The two met in a Santa Monica, California gym on Saturday morning for a 3-round boxing match. Each round lasted 3 minutes, like in state-sanctioned pro boxing matches. When watching at home, a boxing match’s three minutes doesn’t seem like a long stretch. When asked to exert the energy for three minutes of fighting, most people off the street would be exhausted. It’s why boxers do so much “road work”, running to build up their cardio.
Boxers spar long sessions with a series of opponents, so the fighter builds stamina, hone his skills, and grows comfortable in the ring. Learning to relax (as much as possible) during a match is important for a boxer, because the stress of a boxing match can wear out a fighter as much as the pace does.
Kevin Hart Wants a Rematch
Afterward, Kevin Hart posted to Instagram, “I want to take the time to congratulate my guy Antonio Esfandiari on an amazing sparring match today. You worked hard and deserve the W champ.”
It’s clear that Kevin Hart underestimated his opponent. He called for a rematch, so he can match his opponent’s training. Hart said he would release videos of the match, once he had time to edit them.
Kevin Hart v. Mila Monroe
Kevin Hart is no stranger to the world of poker. Since 2016, he’s played in many live poker events. Hart’s a poker ambassador for PokerStars, and even produced a video for the poker site called “Poker and Comedy: Kevin Hart Among the Super High Rollers.”
A video of Kevin Hart playing at the PokerStars Championship Cash Challenge went viral when Mila Monroe bluffed him. Hart made the $20,000 all-in call thinking he had a straight, but ended up winning with King high. The showdown was a confusing mess, as several pros watched in amusement (or horror). What the hand did show is it’s dangerous to bluff the loosest person at the table, because they don’t always know when to fold.
Kevin Hart later entered the 2017 $300,000 High Roller Bowl at the Aria in Las Vegas. His results were not so great, but since Hart was the 6th-highest paid entertainer of the year ($87 million), he could afford the loss.
Antonio Esfandiari: Poker Profile
Antonio Esfandiari is a consummate poker pro. He holds three WSOP bracelets, but his biggest moment was winning the 2012 Big One for One Drop event at the World Series of Poker. At the time, the 1st place prize of $18+ million was the biggest prize ever won in poker history.
Esfandiari held the all-time money winner title for a couple of years (2012-2014), but Daniel Negreanu surpassed him when he placed second in the 2014 Big One for One Drop event. Justin Bonomo passed Negreanu at the 2018 WSOP with a historic win over Fedor Holz. Bonomo has $42 million in career earnings.