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Boxing champion and Olympic gold medalist Oscar De La Hoya is back in rehab. The forty-year-old entered treatment this week for the second time to deal with substance abuse issues. As such, he’ll be forced to miss this weekend’s big fight between Floyd “Money” Mayweather and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez that his company, Golden Boy Promotions, is actually running, but in a battle between short-term responsibilities and long-term health, the distant future always needs to win out.
De La Hoya has been extremely vague about the specifics of his current issues, but he’s been open about problems he’s had with alcohol and cocaine in the past. Regardless of what the actual substance might be, he seems committed to dealing with it quickly and aggressively.
Here’s what the boxer told ESPN…
”Canelo Alvarez and I have big fights coming up this weekend. His is the ring and mine in treatment. I will not be at the fight to cheer Canelo to victory since I have voluntarily admitted myself into a treatment facility. 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."
Boxers tend to be very polarizing figures, but throughout his career, De La Hoya was extremely well-liked by a high percentage of the general public. He won a gold medal for the United States in the lightweight division at the 1992 Olympics just weeks after graduating from an East Los Angeles high school. He later found incredible success as a professional, generating many of the most ordered pay-per-view telecasts in the history of the sport and achieving popularity among non-traditional boxing fans. He later poured himself into charity work and even a children’s book after his official retirement.
Pop Blend’s sincerest well-wishes go out to De La Hoya during this battle for sobriety.