The world loves a good comeback story. It is what most of Disney’s sports-oriented movies are based on. We can relate to the underdogs trying to rise from obscurity, the former champions—like Oscar De La Hoya — trying to reclaim past glory.
Yes, former boxing great and 11-time champion Oscar De La Hoya is staging a comeback. It appears that he is already training for it:
On the outside looking in, an Oscar De La Hoya comeback is the kind of story we love. Here we have a former champion that has been out of the ring for 12 years looking to make a comeback.
Is he doing it as a money-grab? Is he doing a meaningless exhibition like two other past-their-prime pugilists, Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr.?
No! He is doing it for the love of the game and because he doesn’t like what he sees in the current boxing landscape (via ESPN ):
“These guys are in it just for the money — that’ll be the big difference. I will fight for the glory, and these guys only fight for the money. And guess what? The glory will always win.”
We can appreciate the sentiment, and he isn’t wrong.
Boxing, like every sport, needs something to draw people in. Mike Tyson certainly did it back in his day because of the sheer power he brought to the ring. If you blinked, reached across the table for a wing, or took a drink of your beer at the wrong time, you risked missing the knock-out punch.
Everyone wanted to see Mike Tyson fights back in the day. More recently, there was Manny Pacquiao (who should have remained retired) and Floyd Mayweather (who we all wished would get knocked out).
Who didn’t want to see this smug smile knocked off his face (video contains NSFW language)?
But who is there now?
Tyson Fury can be entertaining, but he is almost as well known for his tabloid headlines as his boxing. Deontay Wilder does not count anymore after how Fury demolished him the last time they fought.
Nowadays, guys are either fighters or showmen. But where are the guys that can do both?
Boxing is in dire need of a hero to cheer for. Ratings have been poor even though no other sports were competing for viewers. So, it is not hard to see why De La Hoya thinks we need him—we do. Boxing needs someone to rally behind.
But the 47-year old former champion is not that someone. He should have retired before facing Manny Pacquiao:
He lost four of his last six fights because he was outboxed, and past his prime.
It is nice that he feels like his jab is as fast as ever. But if all it takes for a return is a few weeks to work on his conditioning, that says a lot. It should take more to be competitive than that.