It all started with that workout video of former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson that went viral.
Apparently, watching the video had former six-division world champion Oscar De La Hoya also feeling the itch to lace on the gloves and workout again. The end-result? The former “Golden Boy” of boxing recently announced that he is seriously considering a return to the punch-for-pay business. And unlike Tyson who is zeroing on exhibition bouts, De La Hoya is talking about a real, sanctioned bout.
De La Hoya, 47, is looking at the middleweight or 160-pound division as the launching pad for his re-turn. While De La Hoya admits that he is not yet ready to go 12 rounds, he is working on getting back in shape and wants nothing less than the top dogs in the weight class.
A De La Hoya return figures to give pro boxing a huge boost in terms of popularity, but truth be told, he has nothing more to offer in terms of competitiveness. De La Hoya’s return will all be about getting a slice of the huge money pie in boxing.
De La Hoya earned over $500 million in a pro career that stretched from 1992 until 2008. De La Hoya won six division titles, but not a few believe he was meticulously pampered. In 1994, just two years after turning pro, he won his first world title, albeit the then lightly-regarded WBO junior lightweight title. Instead of taking on the recognized junior lightweight champs at the time, De La Hoya opted for the low-risk, nondescript Jimmi Bredahl. In June 2004, De La Hoya won yet another dubious crown, the WBO middleweight title, by narrowly escaping defeat against Felix Sturm. A few months later, when De La Hoya finally rubbed elbows with the real middleweight champ Bernard Hopkins, he was predictably knocked out with one body shot in the ninth round.
De La Hoya’s resumé is loaded with some pretty recognizable names, but victories against faded stars like Julio Cesar Chavez and Hector Camacho actually leave a sour taste in the mouth. Moreover, in three of his biggest fights, De La Hoya lost. In September 1999, in a welterweight unification battle, De La Hoya suffered his first loss to Puerto Rican Felix Trinidad after he coasted in the last few rounds. In June 2000, De La Hoya bowed to a prime Shane Mosley via split decision. In May 2007, De La Hoya started out fast only to again fade against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
De La Hoya literally looked pathetic in his last pro fight in December 2008 against Filipino Manny Pacquiao. De La Hoya was already a natural 154-pounder but had to drain himself to make 145 pounds against Pacquiao. De La Hoya looked like a zombie in the fight and hardly threw a punch. Pummeled by Pacquiao, De La Hoya quit on his stool after eight rounds. De La Hoya had a number of excuses after the fight, claiming that Pacquiao never really hurt him and that he just followed the wrong diet while training.
Truth be told, De La Hoya just fought Pacquiao for the money. It was De La Hoya’s last chance at a mega payday and he merely relied on his reputation to sell the fight. Mind you, De La Hoya was still the favorite to beat Pacquiao, but when people saw how awful he looked during the weigh-in, the odds instantly shifted.
De La Hoya, 39-6 with 30 knockouts, will again try to project his “Golden Boy” image to sell his return. Then again, since leaving the sport in 2008, De La Hoya’s life has been anything but healthy. Just three years ago, De La Hoya was arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol. He later admitted battling alcoholism since he was a teenager. In a separate interview, De La Hoya also confessed to battling drug addiction, which was apparently prominent even during his prime years in the sport. “My life was just a big lie. I knew how to lie, how to cover up,” he was quoted as saying.
De La Hoya’s impending return will make for a dandy story, but it will also be a lie. It will not take that long before the fans realize that it is all about the money. De La Hoya will command top dollar which will definitely add to the coffers of his Golden Boy Promotions. It will be a short comeback, that is, if it even gets off the ground.