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Avila Perspective, Chap 146: Oscar Returns Plus Other Boxing Notes

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  • Avila Perspective, Chap 146: Oscar Returns Plus Other Boxing Notes

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    By David A. Avila

    Sitting in front of several dozen reporters the favorite son of Los Angeles area boxing Oscar De La Hoya and former MMA champion Vitor Belfort spoke about their mutual return to prizefighting.

    “I can’t lie. I miss getting hit,” said De La Hoya.

    It was a statement also shared by Belfort.

    After years away from the prize ring, both return to exchange hits as boxing’s De La Hoya (39-6, 30 KOs) meets MMA’s Belfort (26-14, 18 KOs) on Sept. 11, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The Triller Fight Club card will be shown on pay-per-view via FITE.tv and other modes.

    De La Hoya, 48, last absorbed hits from a fighter when Manny Pacquiao battered him almost 13 years ago back in December 2008. It was a shock to the senses to see the great East L.A. fighter take blow after blow while unable to hit back.

    He was only 35.

    Many attribute that loss to a ridiculous agreement to weigh under 145 pounds before facing Pacquiao. At the time De La Hoya was the real gate attraction and pay-per-view king. He held all the cards but agreed to the demands acutely devised by Freddie Roach. It proved to leave De La Hoya too weak to fight back and after eight rounds the one-sided beating was stopped.

    De La Hoya retired after that fight. Ironically, he called for a press conference and it was held right where he recently announced this upcoming fight against Belfort. It’s also near a statue built in his honor.

    Sitting nearby, Belfort patiently waited his turn to speak. For the Brazilian MMA fighter, it’s only been a mere three years since he exchanged blows in a prize fight. It was a knockout loss to Lyoto Machida at UFC 224 in Brazil.

    When Belfort spoke to the media, he expressed a desire to get hit too.

    “Its fun. I’m going to have joy when I get hit. You cannot get better than that,” said Belfort.

    It’s a common sentiment held by former greats. I’ve heard the same comments from James “Lights Out” Toney who ridiculously was not voted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame this past year.

    Getting hit becomes as common as breathing for most professional fighters, especially those that began boxing at a young age such as De La Hoya.

    “The truth is I miss it. I miss it very much,” said De La Hoya who began lacing up gloves as an amateur at five years old.

    According to oddsmakers Belfort is the favorite to win. Probably for a number of reasons including he fought a mere three years ago. Belfort is the heavier fighter and has fought foes in the 205 pound-division called light heavyweight in MMA. Plus, he is simply bigger than his foe.

    “I hope I don’t end up killing him, but everything is on the table,” said Belfort. “If he doesn’t have joy in what he does he could come back in a coffin.”

    Prizefighters are masochists. All truly good fighters have a streak of masochism inside. They know they’ll be pummeled with blows that truly hurt and they look forward to it. But the bitter truth is taking hits in your 30s and taking hits near your 50s are two vastly different scenarios.

    It's an extremely dangerous fight for both.

    As someone who spent nearly a month in a hospital after experiencing a cerebral hemorrhage, otherwise known as a “brain bleed,” I’m stunned by the fact that more boxers are not damaged from brutal blows. I pray nothing like this occurs to De La Hoya, Belfort, or any retired boxer who returns to the prize ring for a possible payday.

    They are prizefighters and like any former high-performance athlete, they miss competition.

    “When you love it, no matter what happens, I’m ok with it,” said De La Hoya.

    Fans will attend Staples Center by the thousands simply to see “the Golden Boy” once again and pay tribute to one of the greats. Many of those attending will be praying silently for the fighter’s safety.

    I know I will.

    England Fights

    WBA featherweight titlist Xu Can (18-2, 3 KOs) defends against Leigh Wood (24-2, 14 KOs) on Saturday July 31, at Brentwood, England. DAZN will stream the world title fight.

    This is the third defense for Can who has not fought in almost two years. The last defense was at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California when he soundly defeated Manny Robles III.

    Can took the title from Puerto Rico’s Jesus Rojas, a rough and tumble fighter who takes a pound of flesh from everyone he faces. Against Can he was unable to deal out the usual punishment.

    Wood is a former super bantamweight contender who has never really faced international competition. He did face former world champion Gavin McDonnell but was stopped. Perhaps the move up in weight will help.

    Fights to Watch

    Fri. Estrella TV 7 p.m. Erick Leon (14-1) vs Juan Marcos Rodriguez (10-3).

    Sat. DAZN 11 a.m. Xu Can (18-2) vs Leigh Wood (24-2).

    Sat. FOX 5 p.m. Michael Coffie (12-0) vs. Jonnie Rice (13-6-1)

    Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel

  • #2
    This is tragic that Oscar owns The Ring mag and therefore controls the majority of boxing writers who might otherwise call out what an embarrassment it is for this egomaniacal alcoholic to be force feeding his ego with “real fights” when he looks like my fat cousin Paunchy Gringo from down in El Paso. Oscar’s mind is a bowl of fermented mush, the one who knows it best is Canelo.

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