Oscar De La Hoya hospitalized for Covid, cancels comeback bout

Oscar de la Hoya announced that he has been hospitalized for Covid-19, forcing him to withdraw from a scheduled bout next weekend against former UFC champ Vitor Belfort.

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Oscar De La Hoya hospitalized for Covid, cancels comeback bout
FREDERIC J. BROWN AFP

De La Hoya had been preparing for a one-off comeback fight against the former UFC light heavyweight champion set for Sept.11 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. It would have been his first match since a TKO loss to Manny Pacquiao in December 2008, after which he retired.

In his social media posts, the 48-year-old said that he contracted the virus despite being fully vaccinated. “Preparing for this comeback has been everything to me over the last months, and I want to thank everyone for their tremendous support,” he wrote.

De La Hoya expects return before year-end

“I am currently in the hospital getting treatment and am confident I will be back in the ring before the year is up,” the fighter added.

In a video accompanying the post, De La Hoya lamented suffering a breakthrough infection. “What are the chances of me getting Covid? I’ve been taking care of myself and this really, really kicked my a—,” the Hall of Fame boxer said.

Early research suggests that breakthrough cases- infections that occur two weeks or more after a person has been fully vaccinated against Covid-19- are uncommon and mostly mild.

De La Hoya’s comeback was highly anticipated, with Triller Fight Club advertising the bout for a $50 pay-per-view price.

Evander Holyfield tapped to replace De La Hoya

Four-time world heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield is being tapped as De La Hoya’s replacement. Holyfield is 58 years old and hasn’t had a fight since a TKO victory over Brian Nielsen ten years ago.

MMA lighter Belfort has had only one professional boxing match in his career, a TKO win within the first minute against Josemario Nieves.

The Holyfield-Belfort match would need to be approved by a commission, whether it be one in California where the original fight was set to be held, or in Florida, if the fight is moved there.