De La Hoya Out Of Bout With COVID-19 | Evander Holyfield Steps In

Image Credit: Golden Boy Promotions

Oscar De La Hoya’s return back to boxing was unceremoniously snatched away due to a COVID-19 diagnosis.

The former multiple-weight class world champion was supposed to face former UFC champion Vitor Belfort in Los Angeles. September 11 is the original date for the fight.

De La Hoya took to his social media platforms to announce his diagnosis and withdrawal from the fight. The 48-year-old posted a video from his hospital bed to confirm the news on Friday.

“Wanted you to hear directly from me that despite being fully vaccinated, I have contracted Covid and am not going to be able to fight next weekend.”

“Preparing for this comeback has been everything to me over the last months, & I want to thank everyone for their tremendous support.

Veteran Save

However, former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, 58, has agreed to step in. “The Real Deal” now faces 44-year-old Belfort.

De La Hoya was one of boxing’s most significant international stars. In terms of modern popularity, the 11-time world champion in six different weight classes was the original Canelo Alvarez.

In addition, he helped set the new financial standard generating over $700 million in pay-per-view income.

De La Hoya’s first world championship fight with Shane Mosley was the inaugural event at the STAPLES Center. The fight had a sold-out crowd of 20,744 in attendance.

In addition, De La Hoya is most known for his intense rivalry against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. De L Hoya famously lost a split decision to Mayweather in 2007.

However, De La Hoya’s victories include Hall of Famers like Julio Cesar Chavez, Pernell Whitaker, and Hector Camacho.

“I am currently in the hospital getting treatment and am confident I will be back in the ring before the year is up. God bless everyone and stay safe.”

The Real Deal

Holyfield’s last fight was in 2011, a TKO victory over Brian Nielsen, while De La Hoya’s last professional bout was a loss to Manny Pacquiao in 2008.

Recently, Holyfield has been itching for a comeback fight.

The former undisputed heavyweight champ lobbied to face Mike Tyson again before Tyson’s exhibition against Roy Jones Jr.

“My side tried to make the fight happen and we got nothing but excuses,” said Holyfield.

Holyfield has also stated that the veteran exhibition trend was his idea. Still, in top physical condition in his 50s, Holyfield has been training to stay ready.

Vitor Belfort won the UFC light-heavyweight championship from Randy Couture in 2004. Belfort catapulted when he debuted in 1996, gaining a reputation as one of the hardest, fastest punchers in the sport. He has fought all over the world for such major promotions as PRIDE, UFC, and Strikeforce.

Belfort’s tied for third for the most finishes in UFC history with 14. On April 11, 2006, Belfort made his professional boxing debut against Josemario Neves. Belfort won by TKO within the first minute after knocking his opponent down three times.

The fight was in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. The battle against Holyfield will be his first professional boxing match in the U.S.

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.