How does Oscar De La Hoya respond to a thinly-veiled death threat?

By smiling from ear to ear, apparently.

The threat in question was lobbed by middleweight titleholder Gennadiy Golovkin, who, a couple of months ago, responded to a reporter’s query about De La Hoya’s recent desire to return to the ring and face a top fighter. De La Hoya had mentioned that he would be more than open to facing Golovkin and that he “always took apart fighters like him.” Golovkin responded with uncharacteristic venom. 

“You know Oscar, you know how dirty his mouth is,” Golovkin told Agence France-Presse. “Everything involving Gennadiy Golovkin for him is a nightmare. He can say whatever. But let me put it this way — if I got an opportunity to legally kill a person in the ring, I might seize it.”

The Golden Boy promoter and former welterweight star brushed off those comments like water off of a duck’s back in a recent interview with Fight Hub TV. In fact, he downright sympathized with the 38-year-old Golovkin (41-1-1, 36 KOs).

“Look, they (the comments) weren’t nice, but he’s a fighter, he’s got to protect his own image,” De La Hoya said. “But he’s obviously still a dangerous fighter because he hits hard.” 

Still, the 47-year-old De La Hoya (39-6, 30 KOs) pointed out that he was on a far different level than, say, Kamil Szeremeta, the mandatory challenger Golovkin wiped out most recently inside seven rounds on Dec. 12 in Hollywood, Florida.

“I mean c’mon, I’m not a walk in the park, like the guy he fought on the other day,” De La Hoya scoffed.

“I’ve always prided myself on fighting the best,” he added. “That’s never going to change. I can’t go back on that.”

De La Hoya says his revival is in part inspired by his disgust with the contemporary boxing mentality which puts business ahead of legacy. During his meteoric career, De La Hoya took on all comers, a list that includes Floyd Mayweather Jr., Felix Trinidad, Ike Quartey, Bernard Hopkins, Oba Carr, Ricardo Mayorga, Shane Mosely, and Fernando Vargas. He retired in 2008, after a punishing eighth-round stoppage loss to a prime Manny Pacquiao.

“It’s also to prove a point,” De La Hoya said. “To prove a point myself that I can do it. But to show this younger generation of fighters that to be the best you have to beat the best. Even at this age at 47 I still want to beat the best.

“Hopefully it can spark something with these young guys. Instead of listening to the whispers in their ears instead of thinking about the business first. Think about the fight. Think about the glory. Think about the legacy. The only way to create a legacy is by fighting the very best.”

De La Hoya reiterated his desire to compete anywhere between 154 and 160 pounds. 

“I would have to look at the top guys out there that make the most sense, meaning you look at their styles, where they’re at at their careers, what weight I want to fight in,” De La Hoya said.

“I don’t think I would have a problem making between 154 and 160. I don’t think I would have a problem with that.”