Boxing legend Oscar De La Hoya will return to the ring at the age of 47.
The Mexican icon confirmed he’s ready to end his retirement twelve years after his last fight, and confirmed his comeback won’t be an exhibition like Mike Tyson’s clash with Roy Jones jr, describing it as a “real fight”.
“The rumors are true, and I’m going to start sparring in the next few weeks,” De La Hoya told ESPN.
“It’s a real fight,” he said. “I miss being in the ring, I love boxing. Boxing is what gave me everything I have today, and I just miss it.”
De La Hoya’s plan is to compete between 154-160 pounds and said he’s open to fighting anybody.
“Any top guy, any top guy out there,” he said.
Referred to as “The Golden Boy” during his highly successful career, the boxer turned promoter was considered one of the best fighters in the and its biggest pay-per-view and gate attraction.
The Barcelona gold-medalist was considered a marketer’s dream and was one of only a few to don the cover of Ring Magazine and Newsweek.
After winning 11 world titles in six different weight classes, De La Hoya’s career came to an undignified end when his corner stopped his 2008 fight against Manny Pacquiao in the eighth round. He decided to move down to welterweight for the bout after fighting at light middleweight for several years.
The 2008 beating saw De La Hoya retire a few months later at age 36.
“Look, my last fight with Pacquiao, I weighed in at 145 and obviously that was a shell of myself,” he said.
“Look, it’s been a long time, yes. But actually my jab feels faster than ever. I have to make sure that my conditioning is perfect, my health is good. And that’s going to take place in the next few weeks. So we’ll see.”
De La Hoya, who has battled drug and alcohol addiction in the past and said the decision to come back was sparked by recent training.
He also said he was inspired by the lack of grit shown by some boxers today.
“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,” said De La Hoya.
“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.”
De La Hoya currently serves as promoter to the highest earning fighter in the sport, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
In July, The Golden Boy promotions CEO discussed a potential comeback on Chris Mannix’s Sports Illustrated podcast and was asked about the idea of fighting Canelo.
Despite being his promoter for several years, the two rarely talk.
“I don’t know,” De La Hoya said. “Canelo’s an amazing fighter. He’s the best, he’s a pound-for-pound champ. He hits like a mule. I don’t know. You’re throwing me in the fire here, but that’s a challenge that … I never backed down from anybody, but we’ll have to wait and see.”