Some two weeks removed from his strange boxing match against a YouTuber, Vitor Belfort will instead be facing a much more dire threat from the boxing world in September.
Earlier in June, Belfort was announced to have joined the Triller Fight Club event on June 19 in Miami, but the entire card was nixed when headliner Teofimo Lopez tested positive for COVID-19. Instead of the match with Michael Holston, a man known as “The Real Tarzann” from his animal-keeping videos, Belfort has a new opponent and a new date. On Sept. 11, Belfort (26-14, 1 NC MMA; 1-0 Box) will throw down in an exhibition against the legendary Oscar De La Hoya (39-6, 30 KOs Box). The news was first reported by The Athletic on Thursday, and it has since been confirmed by numerous outlets and the promotion itself.
De La Hoya last boxed in 2008, when he fell short to Manny Pacquiao by corner stoppage after eight rounds. Over the years, the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame boxer faced most of the best opponents the sport had to offer, including Floyd Mayweather, Pacquiao, Shane Mosely, Julio Cesar Chavez and Hector “Macho” Camacho. In 2002, De La Hoya knocked Fernando Vargas out to hold belts in four different title-granting institutions, namely the WBC, WBA Unified, IBA and The Ring light middleweight straps. De La Hoya hung up his gloves and changed to promoting, where he grew the “Golden Boy” promotions into a league that has staged many boxing events and even a few MMA cards.
Former Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight champion Belfort may be getting the toughest change in opponent imaginable, going from a boxing newcomer to a former pound-for-pound king. This will be the MMA pioneer’s second boxing match, as he previously faced fellow boxing novice Josemario Neves in 2006. As an MMA fighter, “The Phenom” put on many dazzling performances over the years and set the UFC’s record for knockouts at 12, with a majority of those coming from his hands. Early in his career, Belfort was lauded as a “knockout puncher” with “tremendous hand speed & accuracy” as well as having “no known weaknesses.”
The Brazilian will be the younger man at 44 compared to De La Hoya at 48, and since the retirement of “The Golden Boy,” Belfort fought in MMA 16 times, earning six knockouts along the way. As such, Belfort has been installed as a -140 betting favorite per BetOnline in their exhibition contest with 12-ounce gloves, although an unknown number of rounds has been decided. In the event that the fight goes the distance and no winner is declared, the bets will be ruled as No Action on the sportsbooks. The match will likely be held in Las Vegas at an undetermined venue, as part of a Triller show that will include concerts and additional combat sports spectacles throughout the night.