By Francisco Salazar
Oscar De La Hoya's fighting days in the ring are long behind him. But that does not mean he is going to give up on fighting a good fight.
De La Hoya will not have to worry about a stinging jab, vicious hooks, or attempting to figure out a puzzling defense, something he had to worry about when fighting the likes of Pernell Whitaker, Felix Trinidad, or Floyd Mayweather.
Instead, De La Hoya is taking it upon himself to fight and defeat something that has bothered him in recent years. It is something that has become well-known in the boxing world and to fans alike.
While it has lingered and cost boxing fans some potential match-ups, De La Hoya is compelled to not only stop it, but to defeat it all together.
That thing is the Cold War, the longtime disagreement between Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank that has prevented some intriguing match-ups between fighters from the two promotional giants.
No more, according to De La Hoya, who has already made amends with Bob Arum, Top Rank's promoter. Now that they have made amends, the question is what what fights will the boxing world see between the two companies.
Whatever it could be, it looks like it is following through with what the "Golden Boy" wants.
"I will end the Cold War for the fans," De La Hoya told Boxingscene.com in a recent interview. "I don't care what it takes. (This) is for the boxing fans. You hear all these messages from people. They want to see the big fights happen. Well, I'm going to do it for the fans."
It sounds good to the boxing fans, who play fantasy matchmaker of sorts when putting together fights against fighters from both companies.
Rather than thinking those match-ups will never happen, there is optimism those fights could and will eventually happen.
Even De La Hoya can not help but think of the potential fights two companies could put together in the immediate or long-term future.
"There's a lot of possibilities," said De La Hoya, who was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame on Sunday. "You can do (Marcos) Maidana versus (Manny) Pacquiao. You can do (Lucas) Matthysse and Brandon Rios. There's a lot of possibilities."
"First things first, I had a meeting with Bob Arum (during the week leading up to the Floyd Mayweather-Marcos Maidana fight on May 3). I'm going to have another meeting with him. And we'll talk. We'll sit down and then see what we can work out."
It almost seems De La Hoya has been destined to make the most of a second opportunity at life. With his battles against drugs and alcohol well-documented, De La Hoya has taken a lesson from what he has been through in the last couple of years to apply it to boxing.
Even during his darkest hours, De La Hoya has used the support and accolades from boxing fans to roll up his sleeves and commit to give them the best fights.
"It (the support) showed me that the fans are with me. The people are with me. When somebody goes down, you don't walk over him. You don't kick him. You lift him up. And you give him the strength to get up. And what you do is you raise your hand in victory. That's what you do. And that's what I'm doing now. I'm getting off the canvas and raising myself up in victory because there's a lot of people out there who believe in me."
"A lot of people out there who want me to overcome and succeed and show and be an example. Now I can be an example. Look, I was there. I'm getting up and you can do it to. Whatever it is. Whatever difficult situation you're in, whatever problem you have, you can do it too the way i got up."
While De La Hoya is basking and reveling in being inducted into the Hall of Fame, he feels reinvigorated to follow through when he began Golden Boy Promotions in 2003: giving boxing fans the best possible fights.
It almost seems as though the more De La Hoya is motivated and be involved in boxing, the more the sport benefits from it.
While it would be wishful thinking to believe all promoters (and networks) do business with one another, what De La Hoya is doing is commendable. But it means a lot more to him, especially when he is committed to do what is best for boxing.
"This is what I'm meant to do. I have a mission. And that mission is to make the best fights happen. To bring everybody together for the fans. That's all it is. It's for the fans."
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, RingTV, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing