Oscar De La Hoya: Can the Golden Boy Restore His Legacy?

Nathan AguilarCorrespondent IDecember 8, 2008

Boxing is a sport of skill, strength, and heart, but what really matters to the promoters and the box office is marketability.  Some boxers market themselves’ by talking smack, and then working hard at backing it up.

Others spin their negative life situations, "No publicity is bad publicity," they always say.   But, then there’s the fighter that is just Golden. They come along every so often and they just market themselves.

Oscar De La Hoya was one of those fighters he had an outstanding armature career of 184-0.  Winning Golden Gloves and three amateur championships, he also took home the gold in the 1990 Goodwill Games and the 1992 Olympics. 

De la Hoya was a star in the making, people were intrigued with the Latin American fighter that fought with the boxing skill of a Sugar Ray and Parnell Whittaker.  They were custom to Latin brawlers and pressure fighters like Chavez.

Fans have always been split with De La Hoya, just like they always are with big name fighters. Not everyone liked Ali, Roy Jones, and Tyson. 

Muhammad Ali is one of the best heavyweights in the world.  Ali ended his amazing career with his two last bouts ending in losses, and five defeats during his whole career.  He did miss a lot of his prime time when he couldn't fight, but Ali like many couldn't walk away when it was time. 

Mike Tyson, as everyone knows, was a monster in the ring, and defeated himself the majority of his career.  But, Tyson also ended his career with his last two bouts being loses, and retired with six defeats on his record.

Roy Jones is a legend that tried to regain his glory and he came up short.  The one thing that impressed me about Jones was his will to regain success.  Jones suffered three straight defeats, and could have hung his gloves up.

Jones did what I didn’t expect he fought unknown fighters, they weren’t huge battles and weren’t advertised as such, and he just wanted to see who he was at that point in his career.

Oscar De La Hoya could learn a big lesson from this, and many would say he did this by fighting Forbes, and to some point, yes, he did.  But, I don’t feel it was enough he should be fighting against Felix Trinidad, Ronald Wright, and Vernon Forrest.  These are fights people probably wouldn’t be happy to see, but DLH needs to fight for himself at this point.

When Larry Merchant, asked DLH if he was going to fight again Oscar said, “My heart wants to fight, but if my body doesn’t respond...” and then stopped talking.  Oscar is a fighter, and he is also the biggest marketing tool in boxing.  DLH will need to find out at this point which one he needs to be.

Oscar can retire and fans will say one of two things. Oscar De La Hoya was one of the legends of boxing.  Others will say that Oscar was overrated and couldn't close the big show.  But, nobody will stop talking about him just like Ali, Jones Jr., and Tyson.

So my opinion and advise to DLH is please find your hunger, but if you’re not hungry don’t eat!  My wife taught me this saying her family always used, “Stop eating with your eyes.”  Which meant you're only eating what you think looks good; your stomach can’t take anymore.

So, Oscar De La Hoya, stop fighting with only your heart.  Because remember you still need strength and skill, and if you can’t rekindle that with all the respect in the world, please bow out gracefully.