Mixed emotions were the things I felt as I saw Oscar De La Hoya on his stool with his head slightly bent down with his eyes all puffy and welted. Don Nacho Beristain was talking to Oscar and was attempting to stop the fight with his small white towel ready for the go signal but Oscar was motionless and in deep thinking. It was like a film flashing back all his fights for the past 16 years. Oscar couldn’t believe it. His once colorful career was slowly coming to a close.
So this was how the great Julio Cesar Chavez must have felt… Back when Oscar was at his prime destroying the iconic Chavez in the eighth round, now it was like a déjà vu… but only him getting the beating.
While sitting on his stool after a brutal eighth round, the look of resignation was hideous all over Oscar’s battered face… One more round…one more round… his mind was willing but his bruised body was not. The bell rang and Oscar’s corner stopped the fight. He was brave enough to walk to Manny Pacquiao, embracing the great Filipino boxer but most of all embracing defeat with honor. There was no need to go on with the fight. He was no match for Manny’s speed and with a couple of rounds looking like a walking punching bag, Oscar knew it was time to stop.
His one-time trainor, Freddie Roach, was on the opposite corner. Oscar went to him and said, “You’re right I just don’t have it anymore…”
Oscar wanted an assurance before he left the game he truly loved. And picking the pound per pound king was the rightful heir to his legacy in boxing. It took a Manny Pacquiao for a Oscar De La Hoya’s swan song.
Manny went to Oscar and said… “No matter what, you’re still my idol”…. Oscar responded with “ No Manny you are now my idol”…
Last Saturday’s fight was a classic and one of the biggest fights in boxing with two-class act gentlemen.
I was sad to know that one of my greatest idol in boxing was leaving the sport so to say but when God closes a door, he opens a window. Oscar was ready to retire and though it was not a fitting finale for one of the greatest boxers in our generation. At least he felt secured and happy knowing he left the sport he loved in good hands.