Boxing legend Oscar De La Hoya announced on Friday that he is hospitalized and being treated for COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated against the virus and would have to drop out of his pay-per-view comeback match set for September 11.
De La Hoya, 48, has been retired for 13 years and was scheduled to fight former mixed-martial-arts champion Vitor Belfort, 44, at Staples Center in Los Angeles next Saturday.
He posted multiple tweets from his hospital bed on Friday breaking the news.
“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,” tweeted De La Hoya. “Preparing for this comeback has been everything to me over the last months, & I want to thank everyone for their tremendous support.”
“I am currently in the hospital getting treatment and am confident I will be back in the ring before the year is up,” he continued. “God bless everyone and stay safe.”
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
The Hall-of-Famer from East L.A. also posted a short video of himself lying in a bed wearing a hospital gown, appearing to express frustration over his current situation.
“I mean, what are the chances of me getting Covid?” De La Hoya says. “I’ve been taking care of myself. This really, really kicked my ass.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, “Triller, the upstart entertainment app turned boxing producer, is now trying to salvage the show by finding a replacement opponent,” and:
Triller has called on four-time heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, 58, to face the former UFC champion Belfort, but the bout would need to be approved by the California State Athletic Commission.
It’s highly unlikely the CSAC would approve a professional bout between Holyfield and Belfort. In November, the CSAC called for the Mike Tyson versus Roy Jones Jr. fight to be an exhibition. Tyson was 54 years old at the time and Jones was 51.
Triller could also move the event out of California, with Florida being one option. UFC legends Anderson Silva and Tito Ortiz were slated to fight in the co-featured bout.
Earlier this week, De La Hoya revealed that he had been raped when he was 13-years-old by an older woman. He said that experience partly motivated his comeback “to put closure on my roller coaster of a story.”
Nicknamed “The Golden Boy,” De La Hoya has not fought since December 2008 when he was beaten handily by Manny Pacquiao. He ended his career with a record of 39-6.
De La Hoya founded Golden Boy Promotions in 2002. The New York Times reported that he broadcasted an ad in 2017 to taunt President Donald Trump about his proposal of building a wall along the Mexican border. According to the Times, the spot promoted a Cinco de Mayo bout between two boxers of Mexican descent that showed them “barreling through a concrete wall.”
“The idea of a wall was a direct hit to Donald Trump,” De La Hoya told The Times. “This is letting him know that not every Mexican is what he’s stated they are. Mexicans are hard workers.”
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