Legendary boxing champ Oscar De La Hoya voluntarily checked himself in to a rehab facility Monday night, just two years after completing a program for cocaine and alcohol addiction, according to USA Today. While the details as to which substance the former boxer is battling are yet to be released, many speculate that the same demons which have haunted him in previous times have once again resurfaced.
The 10-time world-title winner announced that he will not be present at the highly-publicized upcoming “battle of the year” between undefeated welterweight titleholders Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez on Saturday night because of his substance abuse problems. De La Hoya, who is president of the successful boxing promotion company, Golden Boy, will be backing the fight and has been a mentor to Alvarez.
Watch Mayweather and Canelo face off in preparation for the fight here:
De La Hoya, who retired shortly after boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao stopped him in the eighth round in 2008, said he had a chat with Alvarez and he understood that his need for entering the treatment facility to seek help for his addiction took precedence over the much-anticipated boxing match:
“I explained this to Canelo, and he understood that my health and long-term recovery from my disease must come first. Thank you for your understanding. I ask for your support and privacy during this difficult time for me and my family. I’m sure he’s going to win his battle, and I’m going to win my battle,” De La Hoya said in a press statement that was released on Tuesday.
Two years ago, De La Hoya was MIA due to another drug and alcohol rehab stint for another historical boxing match between boxing great Bernard Hopkins and opponent Jean Pascal in a rematch that took place in Montreal. The Hopkins/Pascal fight made boxing history because Hopkins, a.k.a. “The Executioner” who is considered to be one of the greatest middleweight champions of all time, became the oldest fighter to ever win a world championship. Hopkins was 46-years-old when he fought Pascal; De La Hoya’s Golden Boy produced the battle.
Mayweather, who reportedly does not indulge in vices such as drinking alcohol or smoking and who defeated De La Hoya in 2007, has been quoted in the past as saying, “I wouldn’t even show up to the fights if I were him [De La Hoya],” according to USA Today.
Still, Mayweather appears to have no ill will toward De La Hoya, telling USA Today, ”I wish him nothing but the best. Hopefully he will pull through like a true champion.”