“The Golden Boy” spoke with Ariel Helwani on Wednesday’s episode of “The MMA Hour.” And during their conversation, De La Hoya spoke about his once-scheduled bout with “The Phenom.”
The two were set to clash in September, but around a week before the Triller event, De La Hoya was hospitalized with COVID-19. The fight was scrapped and instead, Belfort boxed Evander Holyfield on the card. The Phenom needed less than a round to take out the then-57-year-old former heavyweight champion, winning via TKO.
De La Hoya told Helwani that Belfort “knows what he’s doing” inside the boxing ring.
“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 via MMA Junkie.” “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 Said He Was ‘Lying’ to Himself
De La Hoya, 49, is an Olympic gold medalist and has held world championships in several different weight classes. However, The Golden Boy recognizes that age has caught up to him and he’s better suited to promote fights instead of competing in them.
“I was in great shape, but I have to admit I was lying to myself,” De La Hoya said about the lead-up to the Belfort fight. “When I was sparring, I was getting hit a lot. So I was being stubborn. I was in great shape. My reflexes … the videos that I posted, 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 it (COVID-19) and I didn’t fight, and now I can just sit back and relax and grow some gray hairs promoting fighters.”
De La Hoya Confirmed That He Is ‘Done,’ Happy He Didn’t Make a Comeback
The last time De La Hoya stepped into the boxing ring was in 2008 when he was defeated …read more