/ Boxing

De La Hoya hangs up his gloves

Updated: Wednesday, 15 Apr 2009 08:57

Oscar de La Hoya (r) poses with Mickey Rourke after announcing his retirement in Los Angeles
Oscar de La Hoya (r) poses with Mickey Rourke after announcing his retirement in Los Angeles

Oscar de La Hoya announced his retirement as a boxer today, admitting he could no longer fight at the highest level.

The 36-year-old former Olympic gold medalist revealed his decision to quit with a 39-6 (30 KOs) professional record, four months after being outclassed by Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas.

From a platform outside the Staples Centre in his native Los Angeles, and where a bronze statue of the boxer known as 'the Golden Boy' stands, De La Hoya told fans and reporters of his decision to move his career out of the ring and concentrate solely on his promotional and business life.

‘I'm announcing my retirement because I've been doing this since I was five years old and this is the love of my life,’ De La Hoya said.

‘Boxing is my passion, boxing is what I was born to do and when I can't do it anymore, when I can't compete at the highest level, it's not fair.

‘It's not fair to me, it's not fair to the fans, it's not fair to nobody. I've come to the conclusion that it's over. It's over inside the ring for me.’

De La Hoya, who won 10 world titles across six weight divisions after turning professional following his Olympic success for Team USA in Barcelona in 1992, said he had thought long and hard before reaching his decision to quit.

‘Now I understand why athletes have such a tough time retiring from something that you feel so passionate about, from your sport that you're always thinking you can try one more time,’ he said.

‘You're always thinking that you don't want to let nobody down.

‘But this decision was based on making sure, first of all, that I do not disappoint anyone when I step inside the ring; that I do not disappoint myself and I make sure that I can watch my kids grow up; that I can make sure that I have a life where I can continue to be involved and help the sport of boxing.’

De La Hoya has for many years been an active boxing promoter through his Golden Boy Promotions company, and will be in Las Vegas on May 2 to co-promote Ricky Hatton's light welterweight showdown with his own nemesis Pacquiao.

He has also promoted a mixed martial arts card and is a co-owner of the Houston Dynamo Major League Soccer club, as well as having various Spanish language media interests.

‘Now I'm looking forward to the future of boxing and continuing to be the best I can be outside the ring,’ he added.

‘I feel there is a legacy that I can leave outside the ring and that, to me, is every bit as important as everything I accomplished inside the ring.

‘I promised to myself, I promised to my family and I promise to everyone that this is it. This is the end of the road for me inside the ring.’