Oscar De La Hoya got emotional while reflecting on his life and career during a roundtable session with reporters on Tuesday ahead of the press conference formally announcing his Sept. 11 comeback fight against former UFC champion Vitor Belfort.
The 48-year-old De La Hoya is one of the greatest fighters of this generation, having won the 1992 Olympics gold medal for the United States before embarking on a professional career that led to championships across six different weight classes.
De La Hoya retired in 2008 with a record of 39-6 and 30 KOS.
The Mexican-American has battled through several waves of adversity in recent years, including substance abuse that’s led to rehabilitation stays, a cross-dressing scandal, and several bouts of unrest within his company Golden Boy Promotions, most recently marred with the split from the former star of his stable, Canelo Alvarez.
The Hall of Fame fighter said he’s fighting again after a 13-year hiatus because he’s finally in a better place in his life.
“I'm doing it for myself. I've had a f------ crazy life, ya know. I've had a crazy life and sorry if I get all emotional and sh!t. I've done this for 35 years. I've always done it for my family and fans all over the world. I've gone into the ring and just let it all out because I love what I do. I love what I represent for people. But I'm finally fighting for myself. I'm doing it for my kids. For Devin, for Jacob, for Atiana, for little Oscar, for Victoria, for myself, especially. I can't f------ wait,” said De La Hoya.
“[Fighting Belfort is] going to be hell, but I've been through hell and back. There's nothing that can phase me. There is nothing that can break me down, all the sh!t, all the bullsh!t, whatever. I'm strong as a rock [mentally]. I'm just going to apply it.
“I start thinking about how maybe I was doing it all wrong. So I can't wait to do it right. It's like, 'how did I get by? how did I accomplish [what I did]?'"
“I'm at peace. I finally got here. I'm getting f------- crazy emotional. It's been a f------ struggle … People can talk all the sh!t they want to but I will never give up.
“I feel that age is just a number, and I have to literally thank yoga. It's not a f------- joke -- yoga like really literally almost saved my life.”
De La Hoya last fought and lost to Manny Pacquio in 2008, ending his 16-year pro career with a 3-4 record in his last seven fights.
Some of De La Hoya’s best performances and wins were over the likes of Julio César Chávez (twice), Pernell Whitaker, Fernando Vargas, Hector Camacho, Arturo Gatti and Ricardo Mayorga. He also lost to the likes of Felix Trinidad, Shane Mosley (twice), Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Bernard Hopkins.
De La Hoya’s light heavyweight bout against Belfort will take place over a maximum of eight-rounds over two minutes each at the Staples Center. The pay-per-view event will be produced by Triller and can be purchased via FITE TV.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com