Aug. 19 (UPI) — Oscar De La Hoya, 47, is planning to end his retirement and resume his boxing career after a 12-year hiatus.
De La Hoya, an 11-time champion who last fought 12 years ago, told ESPN on Wednesday that he is ready to end his retirement. He said he will begin sparring in the coming weeks.
“The rumors are true, and I’m going to start sparring in the next few weeks,” De La Hoya said.
De La Hoya (39-6, 30 KOs) noted that he won’t be taking part in an exhibition fight. Last month, retired fighters Mike Tyson, 54, and Roy Jones Jr., 51, agreed to an eight-round exhibition bout that will happen Sept. 12 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif.
“It’s a real fight. I miss being in the ring,” he said. “I love boxing. Boxing is what gave me everything I have today, and I just miss it.”
After capturing a gold medal for the United States at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, De La Hoya — known as “The Golden Boy” — quickly rose in the professional ranks. He earned the WBO junior lightweight title in 1994 by stopping Jimmi Bredahl in 10 rounds, winning the belt in only his 12th professional fight.
De La Hoya went on to win major world championships in six different weight classes. During that stretch, he was widely considered one of the best fighters in the world and the sport’s biggest pay-per-view attraction.
De La Hoya’s career came to an abrupt conclusion when he quit on his stool following the eighth round of a bout against Manny Pacquiao in December 2008. “The Golden Boy” announced his retirement from boxing in April 2009.
“Look, it’s been a long time, yes,” De La Hoya said. “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 was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2014.