The latest signal that Oscar De La Hoya is indeed serious about making a return to the ring after 12 years in retirement is that his team has begun to talk about possible opponents, and it could be former two-division world titlist Marcos Maidana.

Maidana’s representative, Grant Elvis Phillips, the experienced manager and the owner of boxing glove maker Grant Worldwide, has in the past few weeks spoken to Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez about the possibility of the bout, sources with knowledge of the conversations told

De La Hoya, the CEO and the majority shareholder of Golden Boy Promotions, won 10 world titles in six weight divisions from junior lightweight to middleweight during his Hall of Fame career before announcing his retirement soon after suffering a one-sided eighth-round knockout loss to Manny Pacquiao in December 2008.

However, in August, the 47-year-old De La Hoya, who was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2014, said that he planned to return to the boxing ring for a real fight, as opposed to the kind of unofficial exhibition being done by Mike Tyson and Roy Jones on Nov. 28.

“The rumors are true, and I’m going to start sparring in the next few weeks,” De La Hoya told ESPN in August. Later in August, De La Hoya told BoxingScene that he wanted to fight a “real opponent. I need a top guy.”

Since then De La Hoya (39-6 30 KOs), who would probably fight in the junior middleweight/middleweight neighborhood, has been training, getting his weight down and posting videos of himself on social media hitting pads and a heavy bag.

According to sources, the power-punching Maidana (35-5, 31 KOs), 37, of Argentina, has been seeking to return to the ring as well. Long known as one of boxing’s most exciting fighters and biggest punchers, Maidana won world titles at junior welterweight and welterweight but retired in 2014 after making several million dollars in a pair of back-to-back decision losses in competitive world title bouts against Floyd Mayweather that headlined major Showtime pay-per-view events.

Maidana was promoted for many years by Golden Boy Promotions, which promoted both fights with Mayweather as well as bouts against Adrien Broner, Erik Morales and other notable names. While looking for a deal to make a ring return, Phillips reached out to Golden Boy and during those conversations Maidana came up as a possible opponent should De La Hoya return to the ring, one of the sources said.

Maidana has previously talked about making a comeback. He had not yet returned but is hoping to have at least a tune-up fight before the prospect of a fight with De La Hoya in 2021, according to one of the sources.

De La Hoya’s potential return could become even more serious now that four-division world titlist Canelo Alvarez, Golden Boy Promotions’ biggest star and main source of revenue for the company, became a free agent on Friday as part of a settlement of a breach of contract lawsuit he filed against Golden Boy, De La Hoya and broadcaster DAZN seeking damages of least $280 million – the remainder of what he was owed under his deal – that, according to the suit, De La Hoya is personally liable for.

With Alvarez exiting the company it instantly makes a De La Hoya comeback fight the company’s biggest possible source of revenue and give DAZN an event that would probably drive subscriptions, especially against a name opponent such as Maidana.

Dan Rafael was's senior boxing writer for fifteen years, and covered the sport for five years at USA Today. He was the 2013 BWAA Nat Fleischer Award winner for excellence in boxing journalism.