Retired from the ring or not, Oscar De La Hoya will always be a fighter at heart

Retired from the ring or not, Oscar De La Hoya will always be a fighter at heart

He won a 1992 Olympic gold medal — hence the famous “Golden Boy” nickname — 10 world titles in a then-record six weight divisions, earned some $300 million as the biggest star in boxing for much of his 1992 to 2008 career and in June was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

As passionately as he fought inside the ring, De La Hoya has that same fierce attitude as he fights to keep his Golden Boy Promotions at the top of the boxing industry in the wake of its recent upheaval stemming from the June 2 resignation of Richard Schaefer, De La Hoya’s former friend, company co-founder and its only CEO, who built the company into a powerhouse. The resignation came after a falling out with De La Hoya, who filed a subsequent arbitration against Schaefer seeking $50 million in damages.

The reason for the fracture in the De La Hoya-Schaefer relationship has been portrayed by both sides as stemming from two issues. One was De La Hoya’s desire to make peace and to do business again with his former promoter, Bob Arum, whose Top Rank has long been Golden Boy’s chief promotional rival. Schaefer didn’t trust Arum and was adamantly against it. The other issue was De La Hoya’s unhappiness with the fact Golden Boy was promoting numerous boxers under advisory contracts with Al Haymon, who, with Schaefer’s OK, refused to sign them to promotional agreements with the company, giving him inordinate leverage.

While those certainly were issues, the real seeds of the falling out were sewn eight days into De La Hoya’s rehabilitation stint last September when, according to multiple sources, famed attorney Robert Shapiro, who had sponsored his entrance into a Malibu rehab center just days before his company would promote the highest-grossing fight in boxing history, Floyd Mayweather Jr’s win against Canelo Alvarez, presented De La Hoya with a deal Schaefer was negotiating to sell Golden Boy for $100 million, although who the would-be buyer was is unclear.

“Oscar was in an extremely dark place and he was being told, ‘This business, boxing, is bad for you. It’s time for you to get out,'” a source with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.com. “What was given to him in the condition he was in, there was no way he could process it. It wasn’t something he wanted to do but he was told, ‘You can get out, you can get away from the pressures, you can make a bunch of money.’ He was in a very vulnerable situation.”

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