By Keith Idec
Oscar De La Hoya understands as well as anyone what it’s like for a boxer to consider coming out of retirement.
The former six-division champion has flirted with that idea numerous times since his last fight – a stunningly one-sided, technical-knockout loss to smaller underdog Manny Pacquiao in December 2008. Just this week, the 44-year-old De La Hoya discussed returning to fight UFC superstar Conor McGregor in a boxing match.
De La Hoya doesn’t think Miguel Cotto will have to resist those urges as much as most fighters. Unlike many boxers, Cotto, who is promoted by De La Hoya’s company, is relatively healthy, wealthy and figures to win his final fight against Sadam Ali on December 2 at Madison Square Garden (HBO).
“I believe him when he says this is his last fight,” De La Hoya said during a conference call Wednesday.
The 37-year-old Cotto (41-5, 33 KOs) promised at the beginning of this year that 2017 would be his final year in boxing. The Puerto Rican legend had hoped to land higher-profile fights than his easy victory over Yoshihiro Kamegai on August 26 and his upcoming bout against Ali (25-1, 14 KOs), but thus far he has stuck to his word about wanting to retire to spend more time with his family.
Cotto’s trainer, Freddie Roach, told BoxingScene.com recently that it’ll be difficult for Cotto to resist inevitable offers to face such stars as Canelo Alvarez, who defeated Cotto by unanimous decision in their November 2015 fight in Las Vegas. Like De La Hoya, however, Roach expects the four-division champion to remain retired after defeating Ali.
“Obviously, there’s many reasons why a fighter can choose to come back,” De La Hoya said. “But a fighter like Miguel Cotto, look, he has everything he needs, most importantly his family. He has a whole island that supports him, that is with him a hundred percent, millions of people who’ve supported him all over the world. So there’s no reason [to come back]. He has one last chance and, believe me, he's obviously training to give everyone the best show possible and I believe we’re gonna see the best Miguel Cotto we’ve seen on December 2nd.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.