Vaccinated boxer Oscar De La Hoya announced on Friday he had tested positive for COVID-19 and was being treated in the hospital. The announcement carried the implication that he was going to be unable to compete in the September 11 Thriller card against Vitor Belfort.
De La Hoya shared the information via his official account on Instagram. The post said: “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.”
Recall that the Golden Boy announced in July that he would be returning to the ring for an official bout against Belfort that was being sanctioned by the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC), which regulates amateur and professional boxing, amateur and professional kickboxing, and professional mixed martial arts throughout the State.
The July announcement was prefaced by a De La Hoya revelation last November that he was “90 percent positive” about coming back to the boxing ring. De La Hoya had had his mind on returning in the first quarter of 2021 to fight.
Now, the 48-year-old who initially retired in December 2008 after losing to Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao might have his spot against Belfort taken up by another boxing old hand, Evander Holyfield in the exhibition bout. According to Ryan Kavanagh, a Thriller investor, the company was waiting on CSAC to clear Holyfield.
Thriller was insistent on making the fight happen that Kavanagh noted that if the CSAC failed to clear Holyfield, the event will be moved to Florida, where chances are more favorable for the clearance to allow the fight to take place.
The boxing veteran, Holyfield, was previously scheduled to fight Kevin McBride on the June 19 Thriller show. However, the card was postponed due to complications with the Teofimo Lopez-George Kambosos Jr. main event of the day.
This September 11 Thriller card marked Holyfield’s first official boxing match since May 2011 when he defeated Brian Nielsen.
Brazilian star Belfort, who may take on Holyfield in De La Hoya’s absence, spent most of his professional fighting career in mixed martial arts. He is best known for his two stints in UFC from 2002-05 and 2009-18. In January 2004, Belfort won the UFC light heavyweight title from Randy Couture to establish himself in the championship.
The “Phenom”, as he is often referred to, had one professional boxing match in 2006, against Josemario Neves, whom he vanquished by a technical knockout.