The last time anybody saw Oscar De La Hoya in a professional boxing ring, he was getting pummeled by Manny Pacquiao, being asked in his corner after the 8th round if he was okay with throwing in the towel.
Six and a half years later, could the “Golden Boy” of Mexican-American fighters, now 42, really want to come back for more?
According to a series of interviews that De La Hoya has given this week to ESPN and USA Today, the answer is a definite maybe.
“Right now it’s 50-50,” De La Hoya told USA Today on Tuesday. “And the reason why I say 50-50 is because I have to sit down with my family, which I’m going to do next week, with my wife and kids, and seriously talk to them about the pros and cons.”
But he made it crystal clear that he wouldn’t be willing to come back for just any fight.
"I have to make sure I am fighting the very best,” he told ESPN’s Dan Rafael on Monday. “I don't have to come back for financial reasons or the lights or the glamour. The only reason I would come back is because I miss the competition of fighting the very best."
De La Hoya likely means fighting either Floyd Mayweather Jr. or middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin.
"I want to fight one of them because they are the best, and I always fought the best," De La Hoya told ESPN. "That's what boxing is all about."
De La Hoya was born and grew up in East Los Angeles – his grandfather, father and a brother all boxed professionally. He won an Olympic gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona games and went on to hold 10 world titles in 6 different weight classes before retiring in 2009 with a 39-6 record.
He started Golden Boy Productions in 2002, and it has since become one of the largest boxing promotion companies in the world.
But while he had an impressive boxing career, De La Hoya’s personal life has hit a few pot holes along the way, including allegations of rape that were settled out of court, salacious photos of him wearing women’s lingerie as well as drug and alcohol addiction.
“I’m not drinking, not doing nothing,” the boxer told USA Today. “I feel great. I’ve never felt this good in my career.”
He told ESPN that he’s already in training. Sort of.
"I'm not preparing for an actual fight, but I run 8 miles, I can hit the bag for 12 rounds, I can jump rope and do the speed bag. I do all that on a regular basis to stay in shape," De La Hoya said.
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