Oscar De La Hoya is moving forward with his plans to end his retirement from boxing. De La Hoya, once boxing's biggest star, said he will return to action in "a real fight" at the age of 47, saying his return will not be in an exhibition like the planned 2020 bout between Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr.
"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 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 is a former six-division world champion who retired in 2008 after a lopsided loss to Manny Pacquiao in an unofficial passing of the torch to the next generation of boxing superstar. Now, 12 years after the beating at the hands of Pacquiao, the former Olympic gold medalist is planning to step back in the ring, claiming fighters in the current era are of a lower quality than the men he faced in his prime. He also stated he wants a legitimate fight against "any top guy out there."
"Look, it's been a long time, yes," De La Hoya said. "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. ... 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."
De La Hoya's record at the time of his retirement was 39-6 with 30 wins by knockout. He stated he plans to compete at junior middleweight or middleweight in his return.
In June, De La Hoya told The Ring he wanted to wait to see how Tyson did in his return against Jones, stating, "I actually want to see what Tyson does first. I have been working out, I have been training, I have been staying in shape. Obviously, I'm not in fighting shape yet to go 12 rounds. I'm sure I could get there. We'll see. I want to see Tyson perform, see how his reflexes are, see if he can go past three or four rounds. We'll see and then I'll make my decision."
With Tyson vs. Jones being postponed and seeming a coin toss on whether it will happen or not, it appears De La Hoya decided it wasn't worth the wait.