Oscar De La Hoya is out of his bout with Vitor Belfort for next Saturday for Triller Fight Club, Evander Holyfield is in talks to step in against the former UFC champion.
Former six-division boxing champion Oscar De La Hoya is out of his bout with Vitor Belfort next Saturday. TMZ reports that “The Golden Boy” tested positive for COVID-19 and was forced to withdraw from the fight. However, another boxing great may be stepping in as Evander Holyfield has verbally agreed to take the bout per the report. Per ESPN’s Mike Coppinger, the event could change locations if the California commission does not approve the bout in order for the show to go on with Holyfield in the headliner.
With Oscar De La Hoya out, Evander Holyfield is stepping in to fight Vitor Belfort.
— ESPN Ringside (@ESPNRingside) September 3, 2021
De La Hoya was set to return following a roughly 13 year retirement from competition after last fighting in 2008 in a loss to then rising star Manny Pacquiao. De La Hoya had teased a return in March and talks swirled about a fight with former UFC champion Georges St-Pierre before a deal was eventually made for the bout with Belfort. De La Hoya did release a statement regarding his withdrawal, noting that he did get sick despite being fully vaccinated.
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
Evander Holyfield (44-10) would be fighting for the first time in ten years, last competing in 2011 in a win against Brian Nielsen. Widely regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all-time amongst all weight classes, “The Real Deal” is known for holding the WBC, WBA, and IBF championships and his iconic bouts during the 90’s and early 2000’s that saw him face the likes of Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, Larry Holmes, Riddick Bowe, and others. Most recently, Holyfield was set to face fellow retired heavyweight Kevin McBride in an exhibition bout on the undercard of Triller’s event featuring unified lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez and George Kambosos prior to the event be cancelled and rescheduled. He has also been connected to talks regarding a bout with his former rival Mike Tyson under the Triller banner.
Notably, the change in opponent is expected to drastically change the nature of the bout for Belfort. At 58 years old, Holyfield is notably much older than De La Hoya at 48. However, he is also much bigger. De La Hoya had never fought above 160 pounds in his career and was moving up to 185 pounds to face Belfort. Holyfield is four inches taller than De La Hoya and in his last career bout weighed 226 pounds.
Update, 6:10PM ET: It looks like the card is on the move, to Hollywood, Florida, per ESPN.
Sources: The Triller fight between Evander Holyfield and Vitor Belfort on Sept. 10 is likely to land at Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, Florida, just outside Miami. De La Hoya-Belfort was sat for Staples Center in Los Angeles https://t.co/nn9M7MmKR6
— Mike Coppinger (@MikeCoppinger) September 3, 2021