Oscar De La Hoya is returning to the ring for the first time since 2008 to battle MMA fighter Vitor Belfort in an exhibition match on Sept. 11 in Las Vegas on Triller PPV.
At the age of 48, the Golden Boy is no longer the youthful six-division champion he once was. But neither is Belfort, a 44-year-old former UFC light heavyweight champion with 26 wins and 14 losses to his name.
“He’s a big guy, man. I don’t know what I got myself into, he’s a big guy,” said De La Hoya. “So we’ll see, I’ve got a good chin so I have to work the body, I have to use my speed and then be on my toes and stick the jab. I got a nice game plan for him, so we’ll see ... I have to look like my old self before I fought [Manny] Pacquiao [in 2008] before getting drained into fighting at 147.”
De La Hoya is contracted to fight Belfort at a maximum of 175 pounds but he said he won’t need every bit of the permitted weight in a match that will unfold in 12-ounce gloves.
“I’ll come in at 170, fast, strong. I’ve got my chin, so if he hits me, okay, I’m coming forward. You better be in shape. No trainer, but I’m actually thinking of calling Floyd Mayweather Sr. to train me. He was the one to bring the best out of me,” said De La Hoya.
“Look, I’ve pretty much accomplished everything one has to accomplish in boxing. I want to make the biggest comeback in the history of the sport.”
De La Hoya (39-6, 30 KOs) retired at the age of 35 shortly after quitting on his stool against Pacquiao.
The 1992 Olympics gold medalist finished his 16-year Hall of Fame career with a 3-4 record in the final five years of his career.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com