Oscar De La Hoya refrained from talking trash to Vitor Belfort during their press conference Tuesday in Los Angeles.
The 48-year-old De La Hoya realizes he is in for a difficult fight September 11, when he’ll battle Belfort in an eight-round cruiserweight boxing match that’ll count on the six-division champion’s record. De La Hoya expressed respect for the retired UFC legend as they participated in a press conference outside of Staples Center, the site of their Triller Fight Club pay-per-view main event.
“When I see Belfort,” De La Hoya said, “I can see his eyes and I can see how proud he is of his legacy, and I feel that same way, too. So, I respect that. And that’s why I can say with true honesty that, yeah, we’re gonna beat the f---ing sh!t out of each other. Yes, it’s gonna be a lot of fun. But that’s what we love doing, you know? And that’s what drives us, you know? So, I’m looking forward to it. I really am.”
De La Hoya, of East Los Angeles, California, retired from boxing following his one-sided, technical-knockout loss to Manny Pacquiao in December 2008. “The Golden Boy” has talked about returning to the ring for many years, but he finally committed to a comeback bout against the 44-year-old Belfort.
Brazil’s Belfort retired from mixed martials arts after his seventh knockout defeat, to Lyoto Machida, in May 2018. The legendary Belfort has the most knockouts in UFC history, though, and will have a size advantage over De La Hoya.
Belfort fought as high as heavyweight in MMA. De La Hoya has never competed above the middleweight limit of 160 pounds in boxing.
The contracted catch weight for their fight is 180 pounds. Though they reportedly will fight just two-minute rounds, De La Hoya was adamant about this fight counting on his record (39-6, 30 KOs).
“This is not a game,” De La Hoya said. “We don’t play boxing. We don’t play UFC. We don’t play MMA. I literally said, ‘Look, if we’re gonna do this, let’s do it for real. Let’s not do this song and dance. Let’s not do these exhibitions, you know, that we’re tired of.’ This is the real thing. And, you know, the fact that Belfort feels great – I mean, look at him. I feel amazing. I feel literally better than ever. And the fact that we both agree that it’s gonna be a real fight, it’s gonna be a lot of fun.
“And I have no sh!t to talk about Belfort whatsoever. I respect you, brother, like there’s no tomorrow. But I’ll tell you one thing – we’re gonna kick the sh!t out of each other. That’s one thing for sure. And that’s what I’m actually looking forward to. Call me crazy, but I’m looking forward to it, you know? I miss getting hit. For some strange reason I miss getting hit, so I mean, come September 11th, yeah, it’s gonna be a lot of fun.”
Belfort will make his professional boxing debut. He went 26-14, including 18 knockout victories and three submission wins, during his 21-year MMA career.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.