Sports Now

Sports news from Los Angeles and beyond

« Previous Post | Sports Now Home | Next Post »

Best moments from De La Hoya retirement

April 14, 2009 |  2:44 pm

Oscar De La Hoya did what so few boxers (and other athletes) do Tuesday by retiring at the appropriate time.

Doing it back home in Los Angeles, a few miles from where he was raised in East L.A., was a nice touch, and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's stopping by for some kind words about one of the most shining examples of a local boy making good was deserved.

"He grew up in humble beginnings but with a family with strong commitment and strong values," Villaraigosa said. "This wasn't a young man who was born with a silver spoon. He struggled and fought ... to make his community and his family proud."

He told De La Hoya how proud the city was that its fighter defied "the odds against all odds to reach the pinnacle of his profession."

Before simply stating, "I'm announcing my retirement," De La Hoya, 36, confided, "These last four months [since a lopsided loss to Manny Pacquiao] have been very difficult for me."

He then added, "I've been doing this since I was 5 years old. This is the love of my life. Boxing is my life, my passion.... I've come to the conclusion it's over."

De La Hoya admitted the difficulty of walking away with a 39-6 record. "You always think you can try one more time, always think you don't want to let somebody down.... I was going back and forth." More important, he noted an obligation to his family and his sport. "I can make sure I can watch my kids grow up. I can make sure I stay involved [as a promoter] and help the sport of boxing." 

He referenced his battering at Pacquiao's hands. "When your body doesn't respond ... it's a tough decision."

De La Hoya then thanked his wife, Millie; his business partner, Richard Schaefer; and his father, Joel Sr., who taught him to box and famously pushed him to greatness. De La Hoya choked up addressing his dad, and said, "Father, thank you for pushing me as hard as I can."

"I promise to everyone this is it, this is the end of the road for me."

-- Lance Pugmire