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Oscar De La Hoya retire? He should consult Freddie Roach

December 8, 2008 |  6:00 pm

For some reason, the decision to stop a pro boxing career always seems extra difficult to the boxer, even when the public and the sport's insiders can see clearly that it is time.

Certainly, the lure of huge money is a major thing. Oscar De La Hoya made $20 million for being knocked around a ring for eight rounds in Las Vegas Saturday by Manny Pacquiao. If the pay-per-revenue went well, he'll make several million more.

In addition, De La Hoya doesn't really need the money, although any big businessman -- as De La Hoya is -- will tell you there is never enough.

So, as we all sit around and wait for De La Hoya to stand up and announce the obvious, that he is done boxing, he might be best advised to consult with somebody who would know best about this decision. That would be Freddie Roach, who worked the Pacquiao corner and told us all for weeks exactly how this fight would turn out.

Roach not only knows De La Hoya -- he trained him for his big fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. last year -- he also likes him. He spent much time during the run-up to the fight, while saying that De La Hoya was done, and couldn't pull the trigger, and will lose this fight, adding how much he liked De La Hoya and respected what his career had done for the sport. Here is a clip from a Lance Pugmire interview with Roach during training camp.

The key issue for a fighter this late in his career is the danger of serious head injury.  Roach knows all about that. He started his boxing careeer with a 26-1 record and finished it with 13-12 for a total of 39 wins and 13 losses.

"I fought at least six fights too many," Roach says.

Today, while running a highly successful boxing gym in Hollywood and making his mark on the sport as one of its best trainers and tacticians, Roach suffers from a Parkinson's Disease that he acknowledges was probably hastened by all the blows to the head he suffered over his fight career.

Five minutes, alone, face-to-face with Roach, who is as direct and honest as anybody you'll find in boxing, and De La Hoya would know what to do.

Ideally, he already does.

-- Bill Dwyre