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The Sept. 11 fight between Oscar De La Hoya and Vitor Belfort at the Staples Center in Los Angeles has been changed from an exhibition to an official fight, according to Mike Coppinger of ESPN.
The fight will be eight two-minute rounds at 180 pounds.
“[Oscar] is the one who said ‘I’m in the best shape of my life, f–k this exhibition B.S. I’m going for real.’ None of this ballroom dancing boxing has had to endure,” Triller’s Ryan Kavanaugh told Coppinger. “Both of them are in incredible shape.”
De La Hoya, 48, last fought in Dec. 2008, a loss to Manny Pacquiao. He is 39-6 in his career, winning 11 titles across six different weight classes. He is also the founder of Golden Boy Promotions, which promotes boxing and MMA fights.
Belfort, 44, is a longtime MMA fighter who last stepped into the UFC’s Octagon in May 2018 at UFC 224, losing by knockout to Lyoto Machida. He was 26-14-1 in his MMA career and was the UFC light heavyweight champion for a brief period in 2004. Overall he was 1-4 in title matches throughout his career.
The fight should be, if nothing else, an interesting clash of styles.
“I don’t know what I got myself into, he’s a big guy,” De La Hoya told Fight Hype (h/t Jesse Holland of MMA Mania). “So we’ll see, I’ve got a good chin so I have to work the body, I have to use my speed and then be on my toes and stick the jab. I got a nice game plan for him, so we’ll see.”
Belfort, meanwhile, is clearly gunning to end the fight early:
“I’m the most devastating knockout artist in the history of MMA. I’m not just a boxer—I’m a knockout artist,” he said. “These are two different things. Mayweather is a boxer, he’s not a knockout artist. In boxing you have the boxers and the knockout artists, which one is more dangerous? But besides that, I’m also a boxer.”