By: Hans Themistode
At first, Oscar De La Hoya’s return to the ring was viewed as somewhat light-hearted. Although the former six-division world champion has been working hard in the gym to remove approximately 13 years of ring rust, his upcoming showdown against former MMA star Vitor Belfort was scheduled as an exhibition.
Now, however, after claiming that he’s in the best shape of his life, De La Hoya has decided to make their contest a full-blown fight.
“Triller Fight Club and My team have been working together to bring the most epic event boxing has seen in a long time,” said De La Hoya. “I decided if I was coming back it was for real, none of this exhibition stuff. Two warriors, one walks out the other doesn’t. Vitor Belfort is clearly a very tough MMA legend and while I’m sure he will give me a good run, a knockout is in my plan.
“This isn’t that WWE theatrics we’ve been seeing in boxing lately, this is the real deal, a real fight with real knockouts for a real win. This is not to be missed as I’m in better shape than I was 15 years ago.”
The last image of De La Hoya in a boxing ring wasn’t a pretty picture. The 2014 Hall of Famer was pummeled by former eight-division champion, Manny Pacquiao. With only the second stoppage defeat of his career, De La Hoya (39-6, 30 KOs) retired from the sport soon after.
As news of De La Hoya vs. Belfort turning into an official fight has circulated, Andy Foster of the California State Athletic Commission has revealed that he is simply waiting on the medical results of both fighters before sanctioning the event.
If everything goes according to plan, the two will face off in an eight-round, two-minute bout at 180 pounds. The event has officially landed in Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
While it may have come as somewhat of a surprise, Belfort is taking full advantage of this golden opportunity. Although the majority of his fighting experience has come on the mixed martial arts stage, Belfort has fought professionally in the boxing ring before. In 2006, the former MMA star stopped Josemario Neves in the first round for the only ring appearance of his career.
With a chance to pick up arguably the biggest win of his life, Belfort isn’t taking this moment lightly. According to the Brazilian, he’ll do whatever it takes to end the night with his hand raised in victory. Even if that means causing De La Hoya fatal damage.
“Oscar De La Hoya is a true superstar in the boxing world and one of the greatest and most popular fighters of our time,” said Belfort. “While we both have a great deal of respect for each other’s accomplishments, on September 11, I will make my MMA fans proud to show that MMA and ex-UFC fighters can take down even the best boxer in the world. I hope I don’t end up killing him but everything is on the table. This is a no holds barred, all-out gladiator fight to the bitter end.”
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