Oscar De La Hoya is hospitalized with a breakthrough case of COVID-19, putting his comeback fight for next Saturday on hold. The fighter posted a message to fans from his hospital bed, adding that the virus "really, really kicked my ass" while carrying a defeated look on his face.
"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," the legendary boxer wrote in a follow-up tweet. "What are the chances of me getting COVID?" he expressed, appearing visibly exhausted. "I've been taking care of myself and this really, really kicked my ass."
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
De La Hoya was set to return to the ring on Sept. 11 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles against former UFC champ Vitor Belfort. It would've been the first time for De La Hoya since 2008.
Former boxing champ Evander Holyfield will step in for De La Hoya in the fight, though it will now take place in Hollywood, Florida, after the California State Athletic Commission refused to sanction the new fight.
"Heavyweight fights are always the most exciting clashes, and this is a heavyweight fight between two true warriors," Triller head Ryan Kavanaugh said. "We really wish Oscar a speedy recovery, he's a champion and a warrior; we know he'll fight this and win. We look forward to seeing him in the ring on the anniversary of Fight Club's launch."
With Oscar De La Hoya out, Evander Holyfield is stepping in to fight Vitor Belfort.— ESPN Ringside (@ESPNRingside) September 3, 2021
If the California commission won’t approve the #HolyfieldBelfort fight, the entire card could move to another state. (via @MikeCoppinger) pic.twitter.com/7spbhUt5UD
Fight Club's debut featured the highly anticipated return of Mike Tyson to the ring against Roy Jones Jr., while Jake Paul took on Nate Robinson on the undercard. Kavanaugh adds that Triller is seeking an opponent for De La Hoya on Thanksgiving. The entire undercard that was set for Los Angeles will now take place in Florida, as well. The undercard includes UK fighter David Haye stepping in the ring with Joe Fournier in an exhibition bout.
The fight between 44-year-old Belfort and 58-year-old Holyfield will take place on Sept. 11 on Triller. He was previously set to fight Kevin McBride at an earlier Fight Club event, though the fight was scrapped over medical concerns with McBride, according to ESPN. Fight journalist Dan Rafael did note that Holyfield has not officially agreed to terms for the fight.