Oscar De La Hoya leaves hospital, heads home to Puerto Rico
The man who calls Oscar De La Hoya his best friend said Sunday morning that the fighter is out of the hospital, with no broken bones, and will now return to his Puerto Rico home before likely finalizing his decision to retire.
"No one can make that decision for him," said Richard Schaefer, the chief executive of De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions. "We've laid the foundation for this time. Oscar has entertained millions of boxing fans over the years, and we always knew there'd be a time where he'd take that success and move into a different part of the sport."
That time clearly appeared to arrive Saturday night, when Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines shredded De La Hoya with quick punches and footwork, battering the proud 10-time former world champion before a capacity crowd of more than 15,000 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas and a pay-per-view audience expected to surpass 1 million.
Schaefer was sitting near ringside. He watched in concern as Pacquiao so overwhelmed De La Hoya in the seventh that judges awarded him a 10-8 round without a knockdown. Schaefer said after the eighth, he grabbed a giveaway towel from his seat and approached the corner to get the attention of De La Hoya trainer "Nacho" Beristain. Schaefer said De La Hoya's wife, Millie, was nearby, upset at her husband's battering.
"What's the point?" Schaefer said he shouted at Beristain.
And seconds later, the De La Hoya corner threw in the towel. De La Hoya admitted to Pacquiao's trainer and his own ex-trainer Freddie Roach in the ring that he "didn't have it anymore."
So now, Schaefer said he'll initiate discussions with Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum this week to create a Pacquiao fight with Golden Boy fighter Ricky Hatton, likely at 140 pounds, perhaps in April.
"I'm sure Manny wants to go home and enjoy the birth of his child," Schaefer said. "But we'll start talking and see where it goes."
Barring the unexpected, De La Hoya will preside over the bout as a full-time promoter.
-- Lance Pugmire
Photo: Manny Pacquiao hits Oscar De La Hoya in the fifth round of their welterweight bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday night. Credit: Ethan Miller / Getty Images