Holyfield ‘set to come out of retirement’ after De La Hoya withdrawal

Evander Holyfield is set to come out of retirement to fight Vitor Belfort next week following the news that Oscar De La Hoya has tested positive for Covid-19.

De La Hoya, 48, was set to end a 12-year exile next Saturday by taking on former UFC champion Belfort, 44, at the Los Angeles Staples Centre. The 'Golden Boy' had dedicated himself to getting back in supreme physical condition and was said to be taking the contest extremely seriously.

But he has now posted a video from his hospital bed explaining his withdrawal.

"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. 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."

However, Holyfield has now put himself forward to face the Brazilian at the ripe old age of 58.

And it appears he will be fighting irrespective of the authorities, despite Holyfield v Belfort needing to be approved by the California State Athletic Commission.

If the commission does not sanction the match, the pair are reportedly set to move the venue to Florida and will still fight on September 11.

Holyfield, a four-time world heavyweight champion, last fought in 2011 before retiring a year later. The 'real deal' did return in 2016 however for an exhibition bout with Kevin McBride, and has frequently hinted at a return for the ring.

Of his 54 professional fights, which yielded 44 wins, the most notorious came in 1997 when he took on Mike Tyson – with Tyson infamously disqualified for biting off part of Holyfield's ear.

Belfort's only boxing experience came in 2006 when he convincingly beat Josemario Neves. Belfort won by TKO within the first minute after knocking his opponent down three times.

He has long expressed a desire to box again though and in June this year, American social networking service Triller announced that 'The Phenom' would face YouTuber Michael "The Real Tarzann" Holston in a professional boxing bout. However, the clash was cancelled due to an unspecified reason.

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