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Hospitalized With COVID, De La Hoya Calls Off Fight

Boxer was to return to the ring next week after 13 years
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 3, 2021 4:40 PM CDT
Hospitalized With COVID, De La Hoya Calls Off Fight
Oscar De La Hoya watches an NHL playoff game in May in Las Vegas.   (AP Photo/David Becker)

(Newser) – Oscar De La Hoya says he's fully vaccinated and has been taking care of himself, training for a comeback fight next week. Still, he contracted the coronavirus, and there will be no fight, the boxing great tweeted Friday. De La Hoya is in the hospital with a case of COVID-19 that he said has "really, really kicked my ass." He had been scheduled to take on Vitor Belfort, 44, in a pay-per-view event at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sept. 11, the Los Angeles Times reports. "I am currently in the hospital getting treatment and am confident I will be back in the ring before the year is up," the Hall of Famer posted.

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The fight was to be De La Hoya's first since he retired 13 years ago, per CBS Sports. He and Belfort, a former UFC champion, were to go eight two-minute rounds. The producer wants to replace De La Hoya, 47, with four-time heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, 58. The change would have to be approved by the California State Athletic Commission. That's unlikely to happen, per the Times; the commission mandated that a fight between Mike Tyson, 54, and Roy Jones Jr., 51, held last November be a mere exhibition. Next week's fight could move to another state, with Florida being a possibility.

This week in Los Angeles, before he tested positive, De La Hoya discussed his reasons for wanting one more fight with reporters. "I'm fighting to put closure on my roller coaster of a story … and to say, 'I did it my way' is just monumental," he said, per the Times. "It's a story that has had a lot of ups and downs. Fortunately I have this opportunity to just close it and get some peace of mind." De La Hoya posted a video from his hospital bed on Friday, thanking his supporters and asking, "What are the chances of me getting COVID?" (Read more Oscar De La Hoya stories.)

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