LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Boxing Hall of Famer and former Olympic champion Oscar De La Hoya is considering a return to the ring at the age of 42 after overcoming substance abuse, the fighter told ESPN.com on Monday.
De La Hoya, who quit boxing soon after retiring on his stool at the end of the eighth round of a lopsided 2008 defeat against Manny Pacquiao, said he was “50-50” about fighting again following two spells in rehab.
“I feel amazing,” De La Hoya said. “In my life right now, I have so much motivation. I am so hungry and so determined. I am young, I am healthy and I feel great... 42 is the new 32.”
Nicknamed “Golden Boy”, the 1992 Olympic champion was once considered boxing’s top-rated pound-for-pound fighter and its most marketable asset, winning world titles at six different weights and participating in a string of megafights.
The Californian, who founded Golden Boy Promotions in 2002, said he only had eyes for either a rematch against undefeated welterweight Floyd Mayweather Jr or a bout against dangerous Kazakh middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, known as GGG.
Mayweather, 38, has said he would only fight once more before retiring making that bout an unlikely prospect but unbeaten knockout specialist Golovkin has struggled to find big name opponents and offers a more viable opportunity.
“I just feel good and when I walk the streets, everyone tells me, ‘You have to fight Floyd again, you have to fight GGG. You can do it, you can do it’,” De La Hoya said.
“I just feel great physically. I’ve been taking care of myself. I’ve been doing the Bernard Hopkins lifestyle. You can turn the clock back to a certain time.”
Hopkins, 50, is the oldest winner of a world championship and unified the WBA and IBF light heavyweight titles until he was beaten late last year, a decade after knocking out De La Hoya in a middleweight bout.
De La Hoya returned to the ring two years after that loss to knockout Ricardo Mayorga but lost a split decision to Mayweather in 2007 before his final bout the following year against Filipino Pacquiao.
He retired with a 39-6 (30 knockouts) record.
Writing by Patrick Johnston in Singapore; Editing by John O'Brien