LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Legendary boxer Oscar De La Hoya announced Friday he has been hospitalized with COVID-19, despite being fully vaccinated, forcing him to withdraw from a planned comeback fight next week at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
De La Hoya announced the news on Twitter, posting a video in which the sullen boxer said from his hospital bed, "What are the chances of me getting COVID? I've been taking care of myself. This really, really kicked my ass."
In the social media post accompanying the video, he wrote, "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. 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."
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
The 48-year-old fighter had been training for a comeback bout against former UFC champion Vitor Belfort, scheduled for Sept. 11 at Staples Center.
According to multiple media reports, fight-production company Triller has called on former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, 58, to take on Belfort instead. The match, however, has not yet been sanctioned by the California State Athletic Commission. According to the reports, the bout could be moved out of state, possibly to Florida, if the CSAC does not approve the bout as a professional matchup. Or the fight could be designated an exhibition.
It was unclear where De La Hoya is hospitalized. According to the Los Angeles Times, the fighter met with a group of reporters earlier this week in downtown Los Angeles, at the headquarters of his Golden Boy boxing company.