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Oscar De La Hoya vs Vitor Belfort odds: Why MMA star is the favorite

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The great Oscar De La Hoya (39-6-0, 30 KO) returns September 11 to face MMA legend Vitor Belfort (1-0, 1 KO in boxing; 26-14-0-1 NC in MMA).

And yes, De La Hoya vs Belfort will be a professional boxing match and not an exhibition. Nevertheless, it is scheduled for eight two-minute rounds (as opposed to the traditional three-minute variety).

The fight will be contested in boxing's cruiserweight division at a quasi-catchweight of 180 pounds, but Oscar and Vitor can weigh within five pounds of the limit. (That's a bit odd)

At 48, how will Oscar fare against a former MMA light-heavyweight star who has defeated the likes of Nate Marquardt, Dan Henderson, Michael Bisping, Rich Franklin, Randy Couture, and Wanderlei Silva? Belfort has also shared the Octagon with Jon Jones, Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz, Alistair Overeem, Chris Weidman, and Anderson Silva.

Few mixed martial artists in MMA history are as accomplished and well-traveled as Belfort, 44, who is known for his explosive knockout power.

Oscar De La Hoya vs Vitor Belfort
Cruiserweights, 8 (2-minute) rounds
September 11, 2011
Triller PPV
Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA

Does De La Hoya, a six-weight world champion who retired in 2008 after a one-sided loss to fellow legend Manny Pacquiao, have enough left to defeat a fella who has been far more active professionally? Vitor has fought 16 times since Oscar last stepped into the ring and the former most recently graced the Octagon in 2018.

Oscar De La Hoya vs Vitor Belfort odds
Given this bout was recently changed from an exhibition to a real pro fight, the betting line has special significance because boxing exhibitions usually don't render official winners.

Per BettingInsiderJournal, Belfort is the slight favorite at -140 while Oscar sits at +100. Should these odds hold, a successful $100 wager on Belfort would yield a net of $71.43 while the same successful bet on De La Hoya would give one an extra $100.

Please note, these odds are subject to change over the coming weeks because a) the betting line is so close and b) De La Hoya vs Belfort is now a legitimate professional fight and will be taken more seriously..

So, how is an MMA star with just one pro boxing match favored the win over one of the most accomplished boxers ever?

Why do bettors favor Vitor?

Not your normal MMA striker
The UFC great was an excellent striker and, more importantly, has been far more active since 2008. Moreover, with one pro boxing fight under his belt, we know he's not coming into the sport raw.

Oscar's issues
Secondly, Oscar's drug problems, along with alleged other forms of undisciplined behavior, can't be ignored. Have his exploits taken a great physical and mental toll? Oddsmakers think so.

180 lb catchweight

Third, bettors believe the weight at which Oscar and Vitor will fight, between 180 and 185, will favor the MMA star who primarily competed in MMA's 185 and 205-pound divisions.

De La Hoya, despite competing a few times at 160, fought between 130 and 147 in his prime years.

Oscar, who will be over 30 pounds heavier than he was when he faced the likes of Ike Quartey, Pernell Whitaker, and Felix Trinidad, will be slower, less fleet-of-foot, and less nimble than the version of De La Hoya we remember.

Responsibilities / Deterrents 
Fourth, oddsmakers believe De La Hoya's position as one of boxing's top promoters will likely be a hindrance. He's had and will continue to have promotional responsibilities and obligations that could serve as a deterrent to training and getting mentally prepared. Belfort, on the other hand, only has to train and fight.

Yes, Oscar appears to be getting in fine shape but will he be in "fighting shape" come September 11? Having a six-pack in no way equates to being in fighting shape.

Money grab?
In addition, some oddsmakers will insist De La Hoya's second foray into boxing is nothing more than a money grab. After all, Canelo Alvarez, who was far and away Oscar's biggest cash cow, left De La Hoya's promotional outfit some several months ago.

To what extent does Oscar believe his fighting again would offset any income, TV dates, or overall prestige his promotional company stands to lose with Canelo's exodus? Hence, how much of his comeback is about improving the health of his business - And how of it is his desire to fight again?

And lastly, and for all it's worth, Belfort is a southpaw. De La Hoya has traditionally had problems with southpaws, including Pernell Whitaker and Manny Pacquiao. In this bout, it's not likely to make much of a difference but, per oddsmakers, it's another small factor in Belfort's favor.

Those items stated, De La Hoya is an Olympic gold medal winner and 6-division professional boxing champion who oozes experience at the highest levels.

And while Belfort was among MMA's best strikers, trading blows with a legit boxer is world's apart from pounding on wrestlers and grapplers.

De La Hoya vs Belfort intrigues because of the fighters' accomplishments, their respective places in professional fighting history, and for curiosity purposes. How much does the legendary De La Hoya have left at 48 and can he turn back the clock a bit to defeat a lesser-skilled but potentially stronger, battle-tested former MMA star who determined to make a name for himself in boxing?

What are your thoughts on the Oscar De La Hoya vs Vitor Belfort odds?

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