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Oscar De La Hoya seriously considering retirement

The 36-year-old fighter says he is '60-40' in favor of hanging up his gloves in wake of the beating he took from Manny Pacquiao in December.

February 21, 2009|Lance Pugmire

Boxer Oscar De La Hoya is strongly considering retirement, but isn't ready to pull the trigger on his career just yet.

"I'm still confused," De La Hoya said Friday in a lengthy telephone interview from his home in San Juan, Puerto Rico. "I'm torn between saying, 'It's over. 'Bye. I don't have it anymore,' and knowing if I'll be able to live with that. It's a tough decision, not easy at all."

De La Hoya, 36, is less than three months removed from his one-sided Dec. 6 loss to Manny Pacquiao, when his corner called off the fight after the Filipino star battered the "Golden Boy" for eight rounds.

In the seconds after the fight ended, De La Hoya found his former trainer, Freddie Roach, who directed Pacquiao's victory and had characterized De La Hoya as being too old. "You were right, Freddie," De La Hoya told Roach. "I don't have it anymore."

De La Hoya revealed Friday that dramatic moment was followed by two others -- in the dressing room, where his wife, Millie, held him close and told him, "Honey, that's it," and at the hospital where his Golden Boy Promotions business partner and close friend Richard Schaefer urged him to take "no more punishment."

De La Hoya said he's "60-40" in favor of retiring, but gave no timetable as to when he'll make the decision final.

On one hand, De La Hoya finds plenty of reasons to retire. He was "feeling like a zombie" walking toward the ring against Pacquiao, and couldn't "throw one punch . . . maybe I just turned old overnight."

On the other, he wonders whether boxing friends are right when they tell him he was probably left weakened by the drop in weight to fight Pacquiao at 147 pounds. One fighter who said that is Golden Boy Promotions' Shane Mosley, 37, who has twice defeated De La Hoya by decision and just regained a world welterweight belt last month by defeating Antonio Margarito at Staples Center.

De La Hoya said he was outraged by Margarito, who, along with his trainer, had their licenses revoked after the California State Athletic Commission confiscated two gauze knuckle pads caked with a plaster-like substance before the fight.

"Fighters know who's wrapping our hands, and what's in there," De La Hoya said. "What Margarito said about not knowing is baloney. . . . Boxing's dangerous. And when you have something like a rock in your hand wraps, that's criminal and disgusting to me."

Mosley's ninth-round TKO of Margarito pleased De La Hoya, the promoter and fighter. "At this point, there's not one opponent" who begs for a return fight, "but Mosley's very intriguing," De La Hoya said. "He's a tremendous champion and people remember how great our first two fights were. It's a solid reason to come back: that trilogy that boxing fans love. That would be an amazing ending."

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lance.pugmire@latimes.com

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