De La Hoya will dust off gloves for McGregor

Oscar De La Hoya speaks during a news conference for Canelo Alvarez v Gennady Golovkin bout in Las Vegas on Sept 13, 2017.
Oscar De La Hoya speaks during a news conference for Canelo Alvarez v Gennady Golovkin bout in Las Vegas on Sept 13, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES • Retired boxing world champion Oscar De La Hoya has said he would be ready to step back in the ring to face mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor, and that he can take out the Irishman in just two rounds.

The 44-year-old fighter-turned-promoter, who has not fought since being battered in a loss to Manny Pacquiao in 2008, said he has been "secretly training" and is confident he can beat UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) lightweight champion McGregor.

"You know I'm competitive," De La Hoya said on "Golden Boy Radio with Tattoo and the Crew", a daily digital radio show.

"I still have it in me. I've been secretly training. I'm faster and stronger than ever. I can take out Conor McGregor in two rounds.

"I'll come back for that fight. Two rounds. Just one more (fight). I'm calling him out."

De La Hoya flirted with the idea of a comeback in June 2015 only to rule it out a week later.

He went 39-6 with 30 knockouts in his career and was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2014.

De La Hoya has also battled drug and alcohol addiction, but he said in Monday's interview that he was fine now.

He was one of the loudest critics of McGregor's foray into boxing, when he lost a money-spinning bout with Floyd Mayweather in August after a 10th-round knockout, calling it a "farce".

De La Hoya added that he would only fight McGregor under boxing rather than MMA rules.

"In the cage, he would freaking destroy me," De La Hoya said. "Only in the ring."

In a separate issue, McGregor issued a public apology via social media on Tuesday for his actions during a Bellator MMA event in Dublin over the weekend.

He caused a scene at Bellator 187 when he jumped over the cage after team-mate Charlie Ward beat John Redmond via knockout.

In a statement on Instagram, McGregor said he was sorry, adding that, "I let my emotions get the best of me and acted out of line" while "trying to support a loyal team-mate and friend".

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 16, 2017, with the headline 'De La Hoya will dust off gloves for McGregor'. Print Edition | Subscribe