Belfort meets De La Hoya in the main event of a Triller Fight Club event on Sept. 11 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, and the former UFC light heavyweight champion has been working with boxing coach Santos in preparation for the fight.
Although it’s been more than 13 years since De La Hoya (39-6) has laced up the gloves, Santos is expecting the former Olympic gold medalist and world champion to come out with the same tendencies.
“I do just because I’m a detail-type coach,” Santos told MMA Junkie on studying De La Hoya’s tape. “But I think if you understand fighters’ psychology, Oscar is going to revert to being Oscar of old. So I know he’s going to go to the left hook, the lead hand uppercut – I understand that. Those are his two best punches. He’s not all of a sudden going to come out with something new.
“He’s an elite athlete and the athlete he’s going to revert to remembering what they knew best. I’m sure he’s going to try to use the jab a lot and some speed. How long he can maintain the speed is a different question, but I’ve got a pretty good idea of what Oscar is going to try to do.”
Belfort may only have one pro boxing bout under his belt, which took place more than 15 years ago, but he’s been actively competing as a martial artist. The 44-year-old Brazilian, who’s tied for the most knockouts in UFC history at 12, retired from MMA in 2018 and will certainly have a lot less rust to worry about than returning 48-year-old De La Hoya.
That said, Santos isn’t taking De La Hoya lightly, but sees Belfort beating him in a fight that goes to the judges.
“I think we can win a decision,” Santos said. “I believe we’re going to win a decision. I’ll say that clearly.”
Photos: Oscar De La Hoya open workout in Los Angeles
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