Golden Boy President Oscar De La Hoya has spoken openly about his addictions after making a return to the sport in recent months on the back of some well-documented personal issues.
The 41 year-old ring legend, who retired in 2009, is back in control of his company after dealing with some damaging problems as the former multi-weight world champion’s life spiralled out of control.
De La Hoya first entered rehab in 2011, although a relapse in September 2013 lead to a second spell fighting his demons and the former fighter admitted in a an interview with the Pasadena Star News prior to his Canelo v Lara event that there is no way he can ever go back to his old ways again.
“I’m convinced one thousand percent, a thousand percent, that I can’t,” said De La Hoya.
“That’s in my heart, that’s in my head. And that’s why I continue do work every single day. … That’s what it is. For the rest of my life.
“What that means is several things. I’m going to work harder than ever, I’m going to work honestly, I’m going to do what I really love doing, with passion. I’m going to have a great family life. I’m going to live life and do what I love doing. And that’s boxing. I can’t wait. I’m excited. I really am.”
Asked exactly where his problems lay with both alcohol and drugs and how long he’d been sober, De La Hoya answered: “It was mainly alcohol. It was bad. It was getting bad. It was … it was … it was bad. It got dark really fast. (I’ve been sober) longer (than three months).
“I count the hours. Believe me. But I don’t like going on the record with that. Lets just say that life is unbelievable right now. Look, I don’t care if it’s alcohol, I don’t care if it’s depression, I don’t care if it’s obesity — anything. If you don’t know how to handle it, you don’t handle it, it can take you to a dark place.”
Since making his return, De La Hoya was found a new vigour and outlook, especially with moving forward in the sport he loves, leading to some big chances, not only in his life, but in his working surroundings also. The likeable promoter is focusing on the future and doing something positive with his life – hoping to firmly put his past problems exactly where they are now…to keep himself on the right path for the future.
“All these different issues that one might have. This goes across the board to anybody and it’s like OK, first of all nobody can tell you to do it. You have to do it for yourself. A lot of people all over the world have problems, have issues and they don’t know where to start, or how to start. ‘OK, how do I take the bull by the horns today? How do I do that?’ You know what? It takes courage. It takes a lot of courage. Think about it. It takes a lot of courage to want to change. Oh, boy. Life knocked me down. I was down and almost out. But you know what? I found the courage, I found the courage to get back up and I’m going to raise my hand in victory. Just like the ring. I’m going to do that. That’s exactly what I’m going to show everybody. I’m ready.
De La Hoya continued: “I’ve been there taking care of business. And I don’t mind talking about my rehabilitation because this is all part of the whole picture. I went into rehab just like somebody goes into rehab when they have their knee … you break your knee or you sprain your knee, you gotta go to rehab to get it better, get it stronger.
“Let’s say they tell you to do five weeks of rehab and you do four or you do three because you think you’re ready, you’re strong and you can play basketball now. You go out on the court and break your knee again. So you gotta go in there again and now you do your five weeks and you go out there and it’s strong and it’s healthy and better than ever. That’s exactly what happened to me. I went to rehab to … I needed to rehabilitate my soul, my inside and search for who I really am. I got lost, ever since I retired. It happens. And wow, I came back. I’m ready to go, I’m ready to go.”
Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay for tweets of upcoming news on WBN