Oscar De La Hoya won’t be making his comeback this month, but another boxing legend might.
MMA Fighting confirmed with multiple sources close to the fighters and the promotion that De La Hoya has tested positive for COVID-19 and has been forced to withdraw from his Sept. 11 Triller boxing bout against former UFC champion Vitor Belfort. Heavyweight great Evander Holyfield is in talks to step in as De La Hoya’s replacement, pending contracts and clearance from a commission. Which commission that will be remains to be seen as there are also talks that the event could be moved from California to Florida.
TMZ was first to report the news.
This was to be the 48-year-old De La Hoya’s return to action after announcing a retirement in 2009. His most recent fight took place in December 2008, when he lost to Manny Pacquiao. In his prime, De La Hoya was one of the biggest box office draws in combat sports and he captured world titles in six different weight classes.
Holyfield, 58, has not fought since 2011. The multiple-time heavyweight champion was in talks to make his own return in an exhibition bout against Kevin McBride on the undercard of the Teofimo Lopez vs. George Kambosos Jr. undercard on June 5, but that event was postponed after Lopez tested positive for COVID-19.
Belfort, 44, is looking to fight for the first time in over three years. He signed with ONE Championship in 2019, but a bout never materialized before Belfort parted ways with the promotion. Belfort won a UFC light heavyweight title in 2004 and fought for UFC belts on three other occasions.
UPDATE: De La Hoya has released a statement regarding his positive test via social media, thanking everyone for their support and stating that he is fully vaccinated. He hopes to fight before the end of the year.
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