Coming off one of the most devastating losses of his career, at the hands of Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao, the Golden Boy Oscar De La Hoya announced his retirement this week.
Via a noon press conference on Tuesday (April 14) from Los Angeles’ Nokia Plaza, the future Hall of Fame fighter revealed the news.
“After heartfelt discussions with my family and my closest friends, it is with deep gratitude and appreciation that I announce my retirement from professional boxing,” said De La Hoya, who retires from the ring with a 39-6, 30 KOs record. “Boxing has been the single, most consistent part of my life and although I will miss the ring, I know that it is time for me to step away from the sport competitively and become more active in the other aspects of it that are already in place and ready for me to pursue.
“My career has been nothing short of magical and I am forever grateful to all of the people who made it possible,” continued De La Hoya. “Most importantly I deeply appreciate all of my fans who showered me with their cheers and support, consistently holding me up throughout my 17-year professional career. I believe the true meaning of my career was not in the winning or losing, but in the gift of sharing my fights with all of them, as I never imagined it would mean so much to so many. It has been an honor to fight all of my fights for each and every one of you.”
Last December, Oscar took on the sport’s pound-for-pound best in Filipino speed demon Manny Pacquiao. Pac Man toppled a more experienced De La Hoya to take the win by TKO, when ringside doctor called for a halt to the fight — with no complaints from Oscar — after an eight round mauling. De La Hoya just couldn’t handle the speed and power of the young fighter.
With fighting behind him, De La Hoya now plans to take an even more substantial role in his Golden Boy Promotions company, working alongside the company’s CEO Richard Schaefer to continue to deliver quality boxing events around the world.
“This is truly a bittersweet day for boxing and its fans throughout the world, as Oscar’s name has been synonymous with the sport for nearly two decades,” said Schaefer. “It is been a privilege and honor for me to work with this amazing champion and watch the brilliance of his career both in and out of the ring. As one of my closest friends, both personally and professionally, I look forward to working with Oscar as he takes a more active role in Golden Boy Promotions now that he is no longer competing in the sport.”
Originally from East Los Angeles, where as a young child he laced up a pair of boxing gloves for the first time at four years old, he began his amateur career several years later and started dreaming of professional success. The 10-time world champion, who collected titles in six different weight divisions, has long been considered the most influential fighter of the sports modern era.
“Oscar de la Hoya has left an indelible legacy in and out of the ring,” Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said. “This son of East L.A. has made the City of Angels proud, not only for his ten championships in six weight divisions, but for never forgetting his roots and giving back to his community.”
Having turned professional immediately following his 1992 Olympic gold medal victory in Barcelona, Spain, De La Hoya immediately turned in to a box office success. His popularity and following made him the highest grossing non-heavyweight fighter the history of the sport. Participating in 19 pay-per-view fights, De La Hoya drew over 14.1 million pay-per-view buys and over $696 million dollars in pay-per-view revenue throughout his career.
He appeared in three of the top eight highest grossing pay-per-view boxing events including the granddaddy of them all, his super-fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in May 2007, which shattered the all-time pay-per-view record with 2.4 million homes, in addition to generating a record-setting live gate of $19 million. It was the first pay-per-view fight to be purchased by over two million homes.
“Oscar de la Hoya has fashioned a storybook career through hard work, dedication, talent and the commitment to fighting the best fighters in the biggest fights,” said Ross Greenburg, President of HBO Sports. “HBO has had the privilege of televising his fights since 1993 and we watched him develop into a champion and a gracious ambassador for the sport.”
Despite all the accolades and the love he has for boxing, he is most looking forward to spending more time with his Millie and their children.
“In closing, I want to acknowledge my wonderful wife Millie, my children and my entire family who have been extremely supportive and patient with me, sacrificing a tremendous amount of our time together in order for me to pursue my career,” said De La Hoya. “Now it is time for me to be there for them.”