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Don’t Call It a Comeback– Please: De La Hoya Needs to Stay Retired

In case you missed it, Hall of Famer, promoter, and former six-division world champ Oscar De La Hoya says that he may be making a comeback. The 47-year-old recently made the “could be” announcement during a Ring Magazine video interview and the buzz is already whirling through the online Universo Pugilistico.

But this humble scribe says, “No…stop…don’t do it.”

It’s not because I’m worried about De Las Hoya’s well-being. Oscar’s a big boy and can take care of himself. And I’m sure he’s not planning on putting himself in against a killer. As a matter of fact, he flat-out said that he’d likely be eying a bout where the opponent was moving up from 147 lbs.

“I’m really considering it. It doesn’t matter,” De La Hoya said. “Anybody, anybody who is the best out there. I still have that mentality. It would be at 160…If it’s at 154, maybe someone coming up from 147. Any top, top, top guy at 147. It doesn’t really matter.”

Oscar says he won’t be fighting his fighter “Canelo” Alvarez, that’s for sure. And that’s probably in the best interest of his overall health. But it’s also doubtful that he’d be taking on anyone else too dangerous.

He also won’t be moving down in weight, too far below his lowest possible weight. He learned that lesson from his spectacular fail against Manny Pacquiao in his last bout in 2008.

“You take a look at my last fight, with Pacquiao,” he said. “I fought at 160 and came all the way back down to 147 to try and beat a Pacquiao who was just coming up, who was faster than hell, right? And I couldn’t pull the trigger, because I overtrained. My muscles were so lean. I was a walking zombie when I stepped into the ring. I still have reflexes, I still go to the gym every so often. I can still beat anybody I step in the ring with.”

Still…no. I hope this is all bluster and headline-creation.

De La Hoya needs to save his energies for promoting someone beyond himself. The sport doesn’t need a one-time novelty fight that says nothing and means nothing. He needs to be pushing younger fighters like Ryan Garcia and Vergil Ortiz Jr. to the moon. He needs to be getting the 20-something fighters the kind of attention he can get for himself.

Clearly, those younger fighters don’t generate the kind of widespread buzz De La Hoya wants for his promotional company. But that’s kind of the point of a promotional company– to build smaller stars into bigger stars.

Oscar is obviously inspired by Mike Tyson’s talked-about comeback and all the attention that received. He’s even pretty much left it up to how Tyson looks before making anything official.

“I actually want to see what Tyson does first,” De La Hoya said. “I have been working out, I have been training, I have been staying in shape. I’m obviously not in fighting shape yet, to go 12 rounds, but I’m sure that I can get there. We’ll see.

“I want to see Tyson perform, see how his reflexes are, see if he can go past three, four rounds. Then I’ll make my decision.”

My hope is that Oscar pulls back on this idea of a comeback. Let him develop some renewed vigor for his promoter’s gig, roll up his sleeves, and start building some superstars. Leave the fighting to the fighters.

Paul Magno
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: [email protected]
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