By: Hans Themistode
Oscar De La Hoya did everything in his power to get himself ready to make a return to the ring.
The former six-division world champion agreed to end his retirement, which spanned over a dozen years, to take on former UFC Champion, Vitor Belfort. The two were officially set to face off on September 11th, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
Recently, during an open workout, De La Hoya revealed a chiseled physique and appeared to be in terrific shape. With only a few days left until his ring return, however, De La Hoya was hit with an immediate gut punch as he tested positive for COVID-19.
While Belfort was hoping to take on De La Hoya in just over a week, the 44-year-old will now take on an opponent much closer to his size. With the news of De La Hoya being forced to the sidelines, former cruiserweight and heavyweight champion, Evander Holyfield, has agreed to step in.
Although Holyfield is said to be ready, willing, and able to take on Belfort, the 2015 Hall of Famer will now hope that both he and Belfort are approved by the California State Athletic Commission. If, for some reason, their contest is not approved, the pair could move their showdown to Florida instead.
For Holyfield, at the age of 58, the former multiple-time heavyweight belt holder had long been hoping to step into the ring after spending a decade away from it. Originally, Holyfield was set to take on Kevin McBride in an exhibition matchup on the undercard of unified lightweight titlist Teofimo Lopez and his mandatory showdown against George Kambosos Jr. Yet, with their contest postponed on several occasions, Holyfield vs. McBride fell by the wayside.
With Holyfield now getting his chance to return to the ring, his showdown against Belfort will reportedly take place as a full-blown boxing match, as opposed to an exhibition.
The last time Holyfield was seen in the ring, he pummeled journeymen Brian Nielsen via 10th round stoppage before ultimately deciding to pull the curtains down on his career.
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