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.
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.
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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.