Oscar De La Hoya Cancels Comeback Fight After Hospitalization

by Matthew Memrick

The comeback fight is off for boxing star Oscar De La Hoya after a recent hospital stay.

On Friday, the 48-year-old fighter told fans in a Twitter video that he contracted COVID-19. He told fans he caught the virus despite being fully vaccinated. There have been instances where vaccinated people have caught COVID-19.

According to Triller spokesperson Ryan Kavanaugh via ESPN, 58-year-old Evander Holyfield will step in and fight Belfort. Holyfield has not fought in the ring since a 2011 technical knockout over Brian Nielsen. 

De La Hoya Speaks To Fans From Hospital Bed

The exhausted-looking boxer made his video from a hospital.

“What are the chances of me getting COVID? I’ve been taking care of myself, and this really really kicked my ass,” De La Hoya said.

In the video, he announced that the fight was off.

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

On Sept. 11, Oscar De La Hoya (39-6, 30 KOs) was to fight UFC champion Vitor Belfort at Los Angeles’s Staples Center.

Friday’s fight would have been his second comeback. He retired in 2009 after fighting professionally from 1992 to 2008. Manny Pacquiao defeated him in a referee technical decision in 2008. Before that fight, De La Hoya beat Steve Forbes in May 2008 by unanimous decision.

Holyfield Steps In For De La Hoya

Next Saturday’s fight was part of the Triller Fight Club, an American video-sharing social networking service division. Users could pay $50 for the pay-per-view event. 

According to Kavanaugh, the fight will go eight rounds with each round lasting two minutes.

While the original fight was set for Los Angeles, sources told ESPN that the new Holyfield-Belford fight will go to Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, Fla.

California boxing officials would not sanction the new fight.

Kavanaugh said he and Triller wished a speedy recovery for Oscar De La Hoya in his COVID-19 battle. The league also said the boxer was still in the Fight Club anniversary launch plans.

“Heavyweight fights are always the most exciting clashes, and this is a heavyweight fight between two true warriors,” Kavanaugh said. “(De La Hoya) a champion and a warrior; we know he’ll fight this and win.”  

When De La Hoya returns, there are plans for him for a Thanksgiving weekend fight. 

De La Hoya Not Only Athlete To Get COVID-19

In July, many Olympic athletes contracted COVID-19 before their events in Tokyo. There were at least six Americans, including NBA basketball star Bradley Beal, golfer Bryson DeChambeau and tennis star Coco Gauff.

Several NBA stars, including Jayson Tatum, had to quarantine. Members of the New York Yankees have also sat out games in the past year.

247Sports also compiled a list of athletes who have come down with the virus.