Oscar De La Hoya has been hospitalised after contracting COVID-19, putting his boxing comeback on hold.
De La Hoya, often cited as one of the sport’s greats, was due to come out of retirement to face former UFC champion Vitor Belfort in Los Angeles on September 11.
However, the 48-year-old has had to withdraw from the fight after falling ill due to the coronavirus.
Former world heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, 58, is reported to have been lined up as a replacement for De La Hoya.
De La Hoya tweeted a video from his hospital bed on Friday, with the caption: “Wanted you to hear directly from me that despite being fully vaccinated, I have contracted COVID and am not going to be able to fight next weekend.
“Preparing for this comeback has been everything to me over the last months, and I want to thank everyone for their tremendous support.”
De La Hoya went on to explain he feels he will still be back and ready to fight before the end of 2021.
I am currently in the hospital getting treatment and am confident I will be back in the ring before the year is up. God bless everyone and stay safe.
“I am currently in the hospital getting treatment and am confident I will be back in the ring before the year is up. God bless everyone and stay safe,” a follow-up tweet read.
In the video itself, De La Hoya – who had a 39-6 record from his 45 professional fights – said: “I mean, what are the chances of me getting COVID?
“I’ve been taking care of myself. This really, really kicked my a**.”