Former six-division champion and Hall of Famer Oscar De La Hoya, 42, told ESPN on June 22 he is seriously considering a comeback. He said he is "50-50" on his decision.
Former world champion Oscar De La Hoya is serious about making a comeback.
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This is what the 42-year-old De La Hoya told ESPN's Dan Rafael on June 22:
"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.
"Right now I feel the best I have felt in my life physically, emotionally, mentally because I haven't touched alcohol for I don't know how long. I'm training. I feel great. But it has to be worth my while.
"Would I do it? I don't know but I wake up every morning thinking that I can. I think Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvin Hagler. If (Leonard) could do it, why can't i? We both come from similar situations.
"We are both hungry for the competition, we're both ambitious. So you never know. At the same time, I wish time flies by so I don't have to come back."
When Rafael asked De La Hoya how serious he was, the latter replied, "50-50."
Leonard came out of a three-year hiatus to fight Hagler for the middleweight crown. Leonard eked out a split-decision victory in what Rafael dubs "one of boxing's biggest upsets."
Now, De La Hoya might embark on the same journey as Leonard.
De La Hoya, a confessed alcoholic and drug addict who has checked into rehab at least twice, last fought in Dec. 2008 when he lost on an eighth-round knockout to Manny Pacquiao in a non-title, welterweight bout, per ESPN.
De La Hoya told Rafael if he does make up his mind to return to the ring, he would face either Floyd Mayweather, Jr. or Gennady Golovkin.
Mayweather beat De La Hoya via split decision in May 2007. As for Golovkin, De La Hoya told ESPN he would take him on at junior middleweight.
"I want to fight them because they are the best and I always fought the best," De La Hoya told Rafael. "That's what boxing is all about -- fighting the best."
De La Hoya also emphasized his good health plus the encouragement of other people are both factors in his attempt at an improbable comeback, per ESPN:
"I've gotten everything taken care of -- my rotator cuffs, my left hand, everything. I'm pain-free. I just feel good and when I walk the streets, everyone tells me, 'You have to fight Floyd again, you have to fight GGG (Golovkin). You can do it, you can do it.
"I just feel great physically. I've been taking care of myself. I've been doing the Bernard Hopkins lifestyle. You can turn the clock back to a certain time.
"I'm not preparing for an actual fight, but I run eight 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. I look great, too.
"I've never seen myself look like this. Sometimes that little itch gets me in that certain spot, and when so many people tell me I can do it, it's trying to convince me that you can.
"I'm gonna to stick to my diet, keep running eight miles, doing my physical therapy and staying in shape. If I pull the trigger, it's straight to (training camp in) Big Bear (California)."
De La Hoya remains unfazed despite him anticipating some people ridiculing his comeback attempt, per Rafael.
"So it will be one of those bittersweet moments," he told ESPN. "There will be people who will iike it and those who won't. I want everyone to like it."
De La Hoya told Rafael he will give himself a four-month timetable to prepare for his comeback. He added he will not fight heavier than 154 pounds.
He said the ideal scenario would be for Mayweather to take on Golovkin. However, he also realizes that possibility is very unlikely. A rematch with Mayweather is also a far-fetched possibility, per ESPN.
With these, De La Hoya said it would be more realistic for him to fight Golovkin, per Rafael.
If De La Hoya does pursue a comeback, he singled out Floyd Mayweather, Sr. as his trainer.
"I know the best trainer I had was Floyd, Sr.," he told Rafael on Monday. "We had a connection."
Rafael stresses De La Hoya would be the fifth fighter in boxing history to come out of retirement after his Hall of Fame induction. The other four were Leonard, Virgil Hill, Jeff Fenech and Azumah Nelson.
De La Hoya closed things out in his interview with Rafael by revealing what his future plans are:
"I feel amazing. In my life right now, I have so much motivation. I am so hungry and so determined. My plan is long term with Golden Boy (Promotions), with me personally, my family, my business.
"I am young, I am healthy and I feel great -- 42 is the new 32."
De La Hoya entertaining the thought of a comeback is a stark contrast to his response to Mayweather's invitation to a rematch.
De La Hoya said in an Instagram post entitled "Split Decision" (via ESPN) on June 18 that he's "happy, I'm content. I'm never coming back...I'm going to continue growing Golden Boy."
As for Golovkin, the reigning WBA super middleweight titlist, he told Rafael in a separate ESPN update he's ready for De La Hoya.
"If he decides to fight me, I'm ready as soon as possible," Golovkin told Rafael. "It would be another big drama show."
De La Hoya has a 39-6 win-loss record with 30 knockouts. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in June 2014.
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