OSCAR DE LA HOYA has announced a shock return to boxing.
The 47-year-old American retired in April 2009, four months after defeat to Manny Pacquiao, his fourth loss in seven fights.
But after 12 years out of the sport, he told ESPN he is preparing for a comeback – and not just for an exhibition like Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr.
De La Hoya, who won Olympic gold at the 1992 Barcelona Games, said: “The rumours are true, and I’m going to start sparring in the next few weeks.
“It’s a real fight. I miss being in the ring, I love boxing. Boxing is what gave me everything I have today, and I just miss it.
“Look, it’s been a long time, yes. But actually my jab feels faster than ever.
“I have to make sure that my conditioning is perfect, my health is good. And that’s going to take place in the next few weeks. So we’ll see.”
De La Hoya won 11 world titles across six different weight categories in a successful professional career spanning 16 years.
But the big question is why, after turning his hand at promoting and various other business ventures, he has come back – first teasing the prospect in June.
And the answer lies in seeing the current state of boxing.
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De La Hoya added: “All these fighters are not of the level that was 15, 20 years [ago], all these fighters are demanding so much money, all these fighters are demanding the moon.
“And they’re forgetting that you must train hard, you must work hard. So that’s a huge advantage for me because I know what it takes to train hard, I know how to train smart. I know how to fight smart in the ring.
“These guys are in it just for the money — that’ll be the big difference. I will fight for the glory, and these guys only fight for the money. And guess what? The glory will always win.”
He is expected to make his return at middleweight against “any top guy out there”, but has already had one offer as he works hard in the gym to get in shape.
Amir Khan shared a throwback picture of the pair and called out the 39-6 boxing legend.
Captioning the old image of the pair together, the British star said: “I heard @OscarDeLaHoya is thinking of making a comeback.
“Oscar De La Hoya vs Amir Khan.”