Boxing star Oscar De La Hoya has been training for a comeback fight for months now. However, a recent battle with COVID-19 led to the fight being canceled. Keeping fans updated on his status throughout his battle with the virus, he speaks out after being released from the hospital after a 3-day stay.
“Hey guys, I am out of the hospital. I was in there for 3 days. COVID hit me really hard. I was in the best shape of my life and I really can’t wait to get back in the ring. Thank you very much for all your well wishes and all your support. I appreciate it.”
Slated to fight UFC champion, Vitor Belfort, De La Hoya had to cancel the fight last Friday due to his diagnosis. Posting a video of himself in a hospital bed, he begrudgingly captioned it saying he wouldn’t attend the bout. De La Hoya notes in the video he was fully vaccinated and expresses disbelief at how bad he felt.
“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,” De La Hoya wrote on Twitter. “Preparing for this comeback has been everything to me over the last months, & I want to thank everyone for their tremendous support.”
Shortly afterward, he said he’s “confident” he’ll be back in the ring before the year’s end. Evander Holyfield is now set to fight Belfort this Saturday in De La Hoya’s stead. The fight has also been moved from California to Florida.
Why Oscar De La Hoya Decided To Return To The Ring
Oscar De La Hoya fought professionally from 1992 until 2008 when he retired. After more than a decade out of the ring, what inspired him to come back? According to him, his love of fighting and Mike Tyson spurred him out of retirement.
Speaking to The Guardian earlier this year, De La Hoya said he “loves and misses” the ring. He continued by saying he felt good about it overall. “For the last maybe six, seven months I’ve been feeling great. My body fat is very low. I’m maybe 10 pounds [from] where I want to be. Right now I’m 170. I just want to make sure that when I start sparring I don’t get injured.”
However, Mike Tyson may have been what motivated him the most. Noting the fight between Tyson and Roy Jones Jr., he called it “inspirational.” Despite claiming Tyson’s reflexes were a bit slower, De La Hoya admired him coming back.
“What Mike Tyson did was very inspirational. He looked great. He looked like the old Mike Tyson, against a fighter who at one point was the best on the planet. If you give your body, your mind, your soul enough time to prepare for a fight you can do it – if you’re injury-free.”
If De La Hoya returns in a similar condition to Tyson, we’ll have a great fight on our hands.