Anytime a boxer retires, the first question to follow usually is “Okay, so when is his next fight?” It’s a common for boxer’s to announce their retirement, only to return to the ring soon after. Some fighters stage the retirement in order to boost the payout of a future fight. Most recently, we’ve seen “Money” Mayweather and Roy Jones Jr. do it, in order to increase the purse for their next fight.
Meanwhile, others are serious about walking away from the sport, only to find out they have squandered millions of dollars which leaves them with nothing to live off of. This is often the saddest part of the sport, when athletes are returning to the ring in order to secure finances for the future, because oftentimes they’ve aligned themselves with embezzling agents or wasted their money on jewelry, houses, cars, etc. Take Mike Tyson or Evander Holyfield. Both were forced to return to the squared circle, because they could no longer fulfill their debts. Sadly, their skills had passed them by and they embarrassed themselves in the ring, tarnishing their legacies.
So why should we take Oscar De La Hoya’s retirement seriously? De La Hoya is successful in arenas outside of the boxing world. His financial future is not tied to whether or not he fights. The Golden Boy didn’t squander his winnings, but rather invested them into profitable business ventures. He formed Golden Boy Productions, a boxing promotion company, with 2 other boxers. His firm represents some of the top fighters in the sport, including Ricky Hatton, Bernard Hopkins (a part owner), Shane Mosley (a part owner), Manny Pacquiao and Winky Wright. He makes money from boxing without needing to fight again. Golden Boy Productions have branched out to mixed-martial arts, a sport which is gaining ground on boxing, has purchased 4 boxing magazines, and now owns 25% of Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo. Money should not be a motivating factor in forcing De La Hoya back to the ring.
What about as far as legacy as a motivating factor? It shouldn’t be. De La Hoya is one of the most accomplished boxers the sport has ever seen. He won the only gold medal in the U.S. history at the 1992 games. He has won 10 world titles in 6 different weight classes over his 16-year career, amassing hundreds of millions of dollars along the way to a 39-6 record. One of the most profitable, successful, and popular fighters in boxing history, Oscar De La Hoya should walk away from the sport with his head held high and not turn back. He doesn’t need to come back and tarnish his legacy, as so many others before him have.