By Jake Donovan
Diego de la Hoya wanted nothing more than to headline a show in his hometown of Mexicali, Mexico. The assignment he accepted this weekend to make that happen had already come at the expense of what could have been his first world title shot.
Instead of an in-ring homecoming, de la Hoya will instead spend the rest of the weekend in a hospital while his team is forced to think hard about his future.
Photo Credit: Diego de la Hoya’s Twitter Account
The 24-year old rising contender was forced to withdraw from his planned hometown showcase this weekend after being hospitalized following a fainting spell on Thursday. The incident was due to his trying to cut the last few pounds ahead of his planned clash with Edixon Perez, but passed out during a final training session and was rushed to the emergency room for immediate treatment.
“Diego was working on dropping his usual week-of weight, when he suddenly passed out,” Joel de la Hoya, Diego’s uncle and manager informed BoxingInsider.com on Friday. “[He] was taken by ambulance to a hospital where he was administered and EKG and potassium drip. He was kept overnight for observation.”
de la Hoya (21-0, 10KOs) will likely remain in the hospital over the weekend, as his potassium levels are still too low to be medically cleared.
The show will go on in Mexicali, with Senesia Estrada now being moved into the main event slot. The unbeaten junior flyweight from East Los Angeles will face Venezuela’s Debora Rengifo in a scheduled 10-round bout which will air live on TV Azteca.
While a speedy and healthy recovery is first and foremost for de la Hoya, the young contender and his team will have to have a tough conversation about his future.
The unfortunate incident marks the second time in less than a year that de la Hoya was unable to shrink down to the 122-pound super bantamweight limit. He was forced to bow out of a planned ESPN2-headlined clash with Jose Salgado last December.
Their bout was rescheduled, with de la Hoya dominating his countryman en route to a 7th round stoppage this past June in Verona, New York. The win—which will serve as his lone piece of ring action in 2018—was supposed to mark a turning point in his career, as he had at his disposal a mandatory title challenge of unbeaten reigning champ Isaac Dogboe.
However, de la Hoya agreed to allow for the next available contender, countryman Emmanuel Navarrete to jump the line in order to fulfill a career dream of fighting at home. The bulk of de la Hoya’s career has taken place in the United States, with the exception of a stay busy win over Alan Luques last summer on the road in Argentina.
Regardless of who prevails in the December 8 clash between Dogboe and Navarrete, a shot at the winner was very much a consideration for de la Hoya following this weekend. Given recent events, it’s possible that his first career title fight will have to come at a weight more befitting his overall health.
“I’ll talk to team in following days,” states Joel de la Hoya. “Diego has been campaigning at 118-122 for almost 10 years, so it’s definitely something to take into consideration.”