True fighters always believe there is one more fight left in them. No matter how much their physical body disagrees, the internal urge to go one more round is ever present. It never leaves. It is the intangible force that tells them when going into the final round undoubtedly losing on the cards to get up from the stool and touch gloves because there is still a chance for the knockout. However, the same trusted ally that propels a fighter through their prime can become an inevitable enemy when they reach their sunset. An enemy that lies and tells a hall of fame boxer to leave the safety of posterity and return to the lions den without warning of the danger inside. So whenever Oscar De La Hoya recently stirred social sports media by mentioning a potential return to the ring, it was somewhat shocking but by no means surprising.
It is not surprising that De La Hoya would want to return the ring. He was a tremendous fighter during his prime and the PPV king of his time. His resume includes titles in six different weight classes but his exit from the sport was marred by 3 losses in 5 fights. The losses were blamed on substance abuse problems and now since rehabilitated a clear mind would most definitely persuade De La Hoya to attempt to recapture what Bruce Springsteen might call Glory Days. The general public should easily be able to see and side with a desire like this. Oscar is only 42 and still sees himself as an ambitious competitor. Other great boxers like Sugar Ray Leonard and George Foreman climbed the mountain again after leaving the sport. Why shouldn’t De la Hoya be able to do the same? Still, the somewhat shocking thing about this whole situation begs this writer to ask why.
It definitely is not the almighty dollar driving the thought of a return. Even if you were to take away all the money De La Hoya made as a fighter financial reasons for wanting to return are irrelevant. Golden Boy Promotions is one of the prominent forces in boxing today. De La Hoyas stable includes some of the best fighters of the time with a constant stream of upcoming fights. Names like Canelo Alvarez, David Lemieux, and Amir Khan are all Oscars fighters. Right now for another promoter to want to secure a big fight odds are they are going to have to deal with Golden Boy Promotions. His fighters admire him for his street credibility and since Floyd Mayweather Jr. is the only prizefighter to make more money than him in the ring, they trust his business decisions.
Since Oscar really does not need the money and any career blemish he may have had was eliminated when he entered the hall of fame on the first ballot. The only reason left for his desire to return to the ring must simply be his internal urge to compete.
Comebacks when they work are magical. It is the closest thing a fan can get to time travel. To be able to see the hero or legend one more time not as a promoter or analyst, but as the vehicle that drove them to greatness. However, the elephant in the room is that more often than not they don’t work. For every one Sugar Ray there is ten Ali’s. Fighters who fought one too many times. Whatever De La Hoya decides like everything else in his career will be must watch tv. My personal wish for De La Hoya is to listen very close to that internal voice and be certain that the once trusted ally has not turned into his own worst enemy.