Holyfield tapped to take on Belfort after De La Hoya hospitalized for Covid

ATLANTA, GA – JUNE 25: Evander Holyfield speaks at the podium during the unveiling of his statue at State Farm Arena on June 25, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. Todd Kirkland/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Todd Kirkland / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)


LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — Evander Holyfield will step in to face Vitor Belfort on Saturday after former boxing great Oscar De La Hoya was forced out of a one-off comeback bout because of Covid-19.

But the bout has been moved from Los Angeles’ Staples Center to Florida after California boxing authorities refused to sanction a battle between Brazilian mixed martial arts star Belfort and former heavyweight world champion Holyfield — who will be a month shy of his 59th birthday on fight night.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – DECEMBER 09: Former boxer Oscar Dela Hoya accepts the Shining Star Honoree Award onstage during Make-A-Wish Greater Los Angeles Honoring Oscar De La Hoya, Michael Rosenfeld And Tom Mone at its Annual Wishing Well Winter Gala at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on December 9, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. Jason Merritt/Getty Images for Make-A-Wish Greater Los Angeles/AFP (Photo by Jason Merritt / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Holyfield hasn’t fought since 2011, but he had signed to fight Kevin McBride earlier this year — with a possible future fight against his old nemesis Mike Tyson on the horizon.

BOCA RATON, FLORIDA – AUGUST 26: Vitor Belfort trains during his media workout in advance of his September 11th fight against Oscar De La Hoya at Boca Pal Boxing Gym on August 26, 2021 in Boca Raton, Florida. Michael Reaves/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Michael Reaves / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

After the proposed McBride fight failed to materialize, Holyfield posted on Instagram in August that he’d been “training hard for months” and added: “I promise my fans I will step back in the ring at least one more time before I lay my gloves to rest for good.”

© Agence France-Presse