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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Oscar De La Hoya's decision day might be Tuesday

With several signs indicating that Oscar De La Hoya will retire from boxing, a news conference has been scheduled for noon today at downtown's L.A. Live for an announcement that is being tightly guarded by those close to East Los Angeles' "Golden Boy."

De La Hoya, 36, is expected to confirm publicly what he told his former trainer Freddie Roach in the seconds after his lopsided defeat at the hands of Manny Pacquiao in December: "You were right, Freddie, I don't have it anymore."

Those words were passed on to reporters by publicists that night, but in a segment of HBO's "Pacquiao-Hatton 24/7" that debuted Saturday night, video footage of the exchange showed De La Hoya saying the words in a resigned tone, shaking his head to strongly indicate his fighting days were indeed over.

After the bout, De La Hoya retreated home to Puerto Rico to reflect on the loss to Pacquiao, friends say, but neither he nor his representatives at Golden Boy Promotions have engaged in any known negotiations to extend his fighting career since then.

Although De La Hoya made some comments that a third fight with childhood foe and business partner Shane Mosley of Pomona would make sense, he told The Times in February that he was "60-40" in favor of retiring, and he later told at a golf event that he was "retired."

One bout that would certainly make sense as a possible De La Hoya return fight would be against Mexico's Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., the son of the boxing legend whom De La Hoya dismantled in two fights in the second half of the 1990s. The younger Chavez is a popular draw on promoter Bob Arum's "Latin Fury" pay-per-view cards, and a possible "son's revenge" fight at a destination like Mexico City's mammoth Azteca Stadium would expect to draw a massive crowd.

But Arum said last week that he hasn't had a conversation with De La Hoya or anyone from Golden Boy about staging such a bout.

Arum said he had no information about what De La Hoya would announce today but speculated the end has arrived.

"I'm sure he's going to announce his retirement. You don't have a big news conference, serving food and all that, to say, 'I'm still thinking about it,' or, 'I will fight again,' " Arum said.

"It's been a good career," Arum said. "He's made himself a lot of money and fame and made many others, my company included, a lot of money."

De La Hoya (39-6, 30 knockouts) spent Easter Sunday with his business partner Richard Schaefer after remaining noncommittal about his announcement during a Golden Boy fight he attended over the weekend in Las Vegas.

"My decision is solely based on how I feel, not on how Richard feels, and not on how my wife feels," De La Hoya told the Associated Press. "I've had input from tons of people. Obviously, I'm going to pay more attention to people who are closest to me, but I literally was asking people in the street: 'Should I retire or should I continue?' It was split.

" 'Enjoy your family.' That was my No. 1 response from most people."

De La Hoya and his wife, Millie, have two young children, and they are expected to relocate to Pasadena this year. After the Pacquiao loss, in which two of the three judges gave every round to Pacquiao and De La Hoya ended the bout sitting on his stool before the ninth round, Millie told her husband, "Honey, that's it."

Schaefer on Monday declined to comment about De La Hoya's future.

"Anyone who writes a story saying he's retiring -- or that he's fighting again -- does so at his own risk," Schaefer said. "This is going to be Oscar's day."


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