Former six division world champion Oscar De La Hoya admits that he "dodged a bullet" by not following through with a scheduled fight against former UFC champion Vitor Belfort.
Last year, it was announced that De La Hoya would return to the ring for the first time since 2008 - which is when he retried following a stoppage loss at the hands of Manny Pacquiao.
As the comeback bout drew closer, De La Hoya withdrew after testing positive for COVID-19.
He was replaced on very short notice by a 58-year-old Evander Holyfield - who Belfort blew away in the first round.
After watching what happened to Holyfield, the CEO of Golden Boy Promotions quickly realized that signing to face Belfort was a big mistake.
De La Hoya, 49-years-old, intends to stay retired.
“I’m glad I didn’t fight this monster of a fighter because he’s a big guy, and he knows what he’s doing,” De La Hoya told The MMA Hour. “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.
“I was in great shape, but I have to admit I was lying to myself. When I was sparring, I was getting hit a lot. So I was being stubborn. I was in great shape. My reflexes [were on point], the videos that I posted [on me training], they were legit. They were fast, my reflexes were incredible, but when I was sparring, I was getting hit too much.
“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. I’m glad that I got over [COVID-19] and I didn’t fight, and now I can just sit back and relax and grow some gray hairs promoting fighters. I’m done [as far as fighting]. Everything happens for a reason, and I’m glad that I didn’t come back.”