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The Oscar De La Hoya Comeback: Five Realistic Opponents

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In a recent press conference, the 48-year-old promoter and former six-division world champ, Oscar De La Hoya announced that he’s returning to the ring. Scheduled for July 3, reportedly at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas, this will be the first in a multi-fight deal with streaming service Triller.

Of course, questions abound over who, exactly, “The Golden Boy” will be facing in his comeback bout. Rumors have been hot and heavy about his opponent on July 3 being a “notable UFC fighter,” but UFC president Dana White has dismissed the entire De La Hoya question as utterly silly.

“Come on guys, this s*** is getting silly,” White responded when asked about the rumors. “You guys just want to ask me silly questions.

“You have got a 50-year-old guy f***ing boxing, and you guys are actually talking about it and covering press conferences?

“Come on, come on you guys.”

But, apparently, this De La Hoya comeback fight IS happening and it might be happening against someone who at least previously worked for the UFC…or maybe not. Maybe it won’t be a “real” fight at all. Maybe it’ll just be an exhibition. De La Hoya DID just get a new Federal ID by the California State Athletic Commission.

So, yeah, basically, we don’t know anything yet about the 1992 Olympic gold medalist’s comeback engagement. However, here’s a list of five names who may find their way into the De La Hoya opponent slot.

Conor McGregor

Dana White says that the UFC wants nothing to do with this Golden Boy comeback. Yet, the brash Irishman remains a top contender for this fight, at least in the eyes of fans and media. Following his beating at the hands of Dustin Poirier in the UFC octagon this past January, taking a high-profile scrap with a boxer retired for 13 years would be a risky move. Getting beat would make him look like a true loser. Realistically, though, McGregor is not at all likely to face Oscar this July. Maybe further down the road, though.

Manny Pacquiao

The Filipino icon was the one who battered De La Hoya into retirement 13 years ago and is not out of the question when it comes to getting a second call to try and do the same. Pacquiao, himself, has been on the shelf, looking for a big-name pay-per-view opponent for his comeback bout. He’d likely jump at the opportunity to fight De La Hoya again. If De La Hoya has good sense, however, he’d stay away from the temptation to try and avenge this loss. Pacquiao is still sharp, still world class, and would likely beat him silly.

Sergio Martinez

The Argentine former middleweight champ just made his own comeback, going 2-0 in 2020 and is, reportedly, looking to step up his level of opposition. While there’s been no real rivalry or personal animosity between Martinez and De La Hoya, a bout between the two would be a pairing of charismatic, popular fighters with true fan followings.

Marcos Maidana

The heavy-handed Argentine battler last fought in 2014, the second of a two-fight series with Floyd Mayweather where he accounted well for himself in defeat. Since then, Maidana has reportedly put on 100 pounds, dropped 70, and has gotten at least semi-serious about making his return to the ring after years of a comfortable civilian lifestyle.

Felix Trinidad

This may be the most realistic choice on this list as it’s unlikely De La Hoya will be pursuing a “real” fight with anyone even close to possessing “real” main stage capabilities anymore. An exhibition with Trinidad, who’s been away from the ring for the same amount of time as De La Hoya, would stir up a good amount of interest, especially considering the past rivalry between the two. It could be sold as De La Hoya’s attempt to avenge his controversial 1999 majority decision loss to the Puerto Rican legend.

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Paul Magno has over forty years of experience in and around the sport of boxing and has had his hand in everything, from officiating to training. As a writer, his work has appeared in several online publications, including Yahoo Sports, Fox Sports, FightHype, Max Boxing, Boxing.com, Inside Fights, The Boxing Tribune, The Queensberry Rules, and Premier Boxing Champions. You can reach him at: paulmagno@theboxingtribune.com