MANILA, Philippines - Oscar dela Hoya, boxing’s Golden Boy, could be facing the biggest opponent of his life – substance abuse.
At first it sounded incredible and unbelievable, the future Hall of Famer recently entering a rehabilitation clinic somewhere in California.
It’s sad but true.
“He is my friend and I wish him well,” Richard Schaefer, who helped build the Golden Boy Empire, told ESPN.com Saturday evening in Montreal.
“I’m sure that all the fans are joining me in wishing him the best,” said Schaefer as he awaited the big fight between Bernard Hopkins and Jean Pascal.
Notably absent in the biggest Golden Boy promotion of the year so far was the man himself, Oscar dela Hoya, who Schaefer said was in rehab.
At noon yesterday, Dela Hoya latest posts on his Twitter account went like this: “Ohh, I forgot it’s presented by Golden Boy.”
He added some humor to it, saying: “Wasn’t the world going to end today? Or was it Hopkins’ opponent’s world that was going to end?”
Seriously though, reports that Dela Hoya, who retired following a big loss to Manny Pacquiao in 2008, going into rehab isn’t the type of news we should be hearing of him.
But the Olympic champion and still the undisputed pay-per-view king has issued a statement to TMZ. For sure, it was a tough one to make.
“After doing an honest evaluation of myself, I recognize that there are certain issues that I need to work on. Like everyone, I have my flaws, and I do not want to be one of those people that is afraid to admit and address those flaws.
“Throughout my career and my life, I have always met all challenges head-on, and this is no different. I am confident that with the support of my family and friends, I will become a stronger, healthier person,” he said in a statement.
Dela Hoya, according to ESPN.com, has asked for privacy as he faces this new battle.
There’s no official word on the nature of his substance abuse, but FightHype.com has pulled the trigger, saying it might have something to do with cocaine.
“FightHype.com can confirm that over the past six months, we’ve also received numerous reports from sources that Dela Hoya has long been dealing with a cocaine problem,” it wrote.
The popular boxing website also said it has received reports that Dela Hoya was eyeing a comeback, but was told or requested that “he first seek treatment for his substance abuse problems.”
He is fixing things.