Former six-division boxing champion Oscar De La Hoya is thankful that his comeback fight against Vitor Belfort never took place.
De La Hoya was set to end his retirement on September 11 last year to box the UFC legend before a particularly bad case of coronavirus hospitalized ‘The Golden Boy’ and forced him out of the bout.
The former UFC light-heavyweight champion instead fought and stopped Evander Holyfield inside one round, dropping the 59-year-old and following the knockdown landing a barrage of unanswered punches.
All things considered, the head of Golden Boy Promotions is glad he didn’t get back in the boxing ring as, despite being in good shape, he was nowhere near his best physically.
“I was actually in great shape. I was in great shape, but I have to admit I was lying to myself,” De La Hoya said on The MMA Hour.
“When I was sparring, I was getting hit a lot. I was being stubborn. I was in great shape. The videos that I posted they were legit.
“They were fast, I felt my reflexes were incredible, but when I was sparring, I was getting hit too much.
De La Hoya is particularly pleased that he never had to share the ring with Belfort, who remains a knockout threat despite being 45 years old.
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“Everything happens for a reason. I’m glad I didn’t fight because obviously he’s a big guy, and he knocked out Evander Holyfield, so everything happens for a reason,” he said.
“I’m glad I didn’t fight this monster of a fighter because he’s a big guy, he knows what he’s doing. He’s talented. As old as we were, we can still throw punches. We saw it with Evander Holyfield where he knocked him out. I think I dodged a bullet there.”
De La Hoya confirmed that he has no plans to end his retirement which started back in 2008 when he was unceremoniously beaten by Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas.
“I’m glad that I got over it (COVID-19) and I didn’t fight, and now I can just sit back and relax and grow some gray hairs promoting fighters,” he said.
“I’m done. Everything happens for a reason, and I’m glad that I didn’t come back.”
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