Oscar De La Hoya vs. Vitor Belfort won’t be happening after all – at least not next week.
De La Hoya, the boxing legend who was supposed to come out of retirement to box former UFC champion Belfort in the Triller Fight Club main event on Sept. 11 in Los Angeles, has contracted COVID-19 and will be unable to compete in the bout.
MMA Junkie verified De La Hoya’s withdrawal with Triller Fight Club official following an initial report from TMZ.
The promotion already has a backup plan in place, however, and another boxing legend, Evander Holyfield, is targeted to step in and replace De La Hoya in the fight. Holyfield has not competed since May 2011.
According to the TMZ report, the Triller Fight Club event could be relocated from Los Angeles to Florida or another state if the California State Athletic Commission is unwilling to license the 58-year-old Holyfield in time for the event. BoxingScene additionally detailed that, according to sources, the commission will not sanction the bout, whether it’s under professional or exhibition guidelines.
That will likely leave Triller Fight Club to commission shop if it intends to move forward with Belfort vs. Holyfield.
Following the news of his positive COVID-19 test, De La Hoya issued a statement on the situation and said he contracted the virus despite being full vaccinated (via Twitter):
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. pic.twitter.com/0wKEnr5Jzv— Oscar De La Hoya (@OscarDeLaHoya) September 3, 2021
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.— Oscar De La Hoya (@OscarDeLaHoya) September 3, 2021
Source: USA Today