De la Hoya 'hears' the call of the ring again

Oscar de la Hoya says money and glamour are not why he wants to making a comeback in boxing.
Oscar de la Hoya says money and glamour are not why he wants to making a comeback in boxing.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LOS ANGELES - Boxing Hall of Famer and former Olympic champion Oscar de la Hoya is considering a return to the ring after overcoming substance abuse, he told ESPN.com on Monday.

The 42-year-old, who quit boxing soon after retiring at the end of the eighth round of a lopsided 2008 defeat by Filipino Manny Pacquiao, said he was "50-50" about fighting again following two spells in rehabilitation.

"I feel amazing," de la Hoya said.

"In my life right now, I have so much motivation. I am so hungry and so determined. I am young, I am healthy and I feel great... 42 is the new 32."

Nicknamed Golden Boy, the 1992 Olympic champion was once considered boxing's top-rated, pound-for-pound fighter and its most marketable asset, winning world titles at six different weights.

The Californian, who founded Golden Boy Promotions in 2002, said he had eyes only for either a rematch with undefeated welterweight Floyd Mayweather Jr or a bout against dangerous Kazakh middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, known as GGG.

Mayweather, 38, has said he would fight only once more before retiring, making that bout unlikely.

But unbeaten knockout specialist Golovkin has struggled to find big-name foes and offers a more viable opportunity.

"I just feel good and when I walk the streets, everyone tells me, 'You have to fight Floyd again, you have to fight GGG'," de la Hoya said.

"It's got to be worth my while but this is very serious. I have to make sure I am fighting the very best. 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, who has a history of drug and alcohol abuse, insisted that he dreams of emulating Sugar Ray Leonard, who returned to the sport after nearly three years out to beat reigning middleweight champion Marvin Hagler in 1987.

"I just feel great physically. I've been taking care of myself," he added.

He retired with a 39-6 record, with 30 knockouts.

REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 24, 2015, with the headline 'De la Hoya 'hears' the call of the ring again'. Print Edition | Subscribe