FILE PHOTO: Boxing Hall of Famer and former Olympic champion Oscar De La Hoya (REUTERS)
Boxing Hall of Famer and former Olympic champion Oscar De La Hoya, after pondering a return to the ring, said on Monday that he would remain retired.
“As a professional athlete and someone who has spent almost his entire life in boxing, not a day goes by when I don’t think about coming back,” De La Hoya, 42, said in a statement.
“But I am retired, and after speaking to my family and following a great deal of introspection, I have decided to stay retired.”
De La Hoya, who recently spent two spells in rehab to battle substance abuse, told ESPN last Monday that he was “50-50” about fighting again.
He had quit boxing soon after retiring on his stool at the end of the eighth round of a lopsided 2008 defeat against Manny Pacquiao, but told ESPN: “I am so hungry and so determined. I am young, I am healthy and I feel great… 42 is the new 32.”
Nicknamed “Golden Boy”, the 1992 Olympic champion won world professional titles at six different weights and founded Golden Boy Promotions in 2002.
He said he was only interested in either a rematch against undefeated welterweight Floyd Mayweather Jr. or a bout against hard-hitting Kazakh middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin.
“To the many thousands of fans who over the last couple of weeks encouraged me to come out of retirement and fight again, I thank you,” said the Californian, who retired with a 39-6 (30 knockouts) record.
“You can rest assured that I will spend the rest of my days around this wonderful sport, even though those days won’t be spent inside the ropes.”
(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue)