47-Year-Old Oscar De La Hoya Ends Retirement: 'I Miss Being in the Ring'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 19, 2020

FILE - In this Sept. 13, 2017 file photo, Oscar de la Hoya speaks during a news conference in Las Vegas. De La Hoya denies accusations of sexual assault contained in a lawsuit filed against him this week. The boxing promoter's company, Golden Boy Promotions, issued a statement Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019, describing the action as a
John Locher/Associated Press

Mike Tyson isn't the only retired boxer making a comeback. 

Oscar De La Hoya, 47, told Steve Kim of ESPN he will return to the ring even though his last boxing match was 12 years ago. The boxer, who is 39-6 with 30 knockouts, also said he doesn't plan on fighting in an exhibition contest like Tyson and Roy Jones Jr.

"The rumors are true, and I'm going to start sparring in the next few weeks," De La Hoya said. "It's a real fight. I miss being in the ring, I love boxing. Boxing is what gave me everything I have today, and I just miss it."

There was a time when De La Hoya was unquestionably one of the best boxers in the sport.

He won a gold medal at the 1992 Olympics, won the WBO junior lightweight title in 1994 and eventually won major world titles in six weight classes.

He said his plan is to fight at 154-160 pounds, although he didn't reveal any specific opponents he has in mind. The weight class is notable since his last fight before he retired at the age of 36 came when he moved down a division and lost a welterweight bout against Manny Pacquiao in December 2008.

"Look, my last fight with Pacquiao, I weighed in at 145 and obviously that was a shell of myself," De La Hoya said.

He also wasn't exactly short on confidence despite the likely age gap with future opponents:

"All these fighters are not of the level that was 15, 20 years [ago], all these fighters are demanding so much money, all these fighters are demanding the moon. And they're forgetting that you must train hard, you must work hard. So that's a huge advantage for me because I know what it takes to train hard, I know how to train smart. I know how to fight smart in the ring.

"These guys are in it just for the money—that'll be the big difference. I will fight for the glory, and these guys only fight for the money. And guess what? The glory will always win."

In July, De La Hoya told Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated he was running six miles a day and could endure six rounds of "heavy sparring."

His goal was to reach 12 rounds of sparring by September with his sights set on a return to the ring by early 2021.