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Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Golden Goodbye For Oscar?

So Oscar De La Hoya has said that he's not going to retire after he fights Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas on Saturday, preferring instead to fight Ricky Hatton in Wembley next year.
Christ. Another clown and another travelling circus. Just what boxing needs.

I really couldn't use any other picture....

Oscar burst onto the scene at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 as a blubbering young man not long off burying his mother. His sad story captured America's heart (oh what we'd give for another boxer to do the same now... a Heavyweight per chance... Too bad Dick Ebersol doesn't think boxing deserves a spot on NBC any more...) and within two years he hadbecome a Champion. Since then, the Golden Boy has won titles at five weights and has undoubtedly become the sport's biggest pay-per-view star.

Saturday's fight was to be his goodbye, in a town where he is loved, against a 'name' fighter that he should soundly beat because of their difference in size. Sure, Manny will have the speed, but as we saw in Hatton's recent demolition of Paulie Malignaggi, power is king.

Oscar will win on Saturday. The fight will do reasonable business - lower than expected on account of the downturn but probably somewhere near 1,000,000 buys at $54.95, pleasing bosses of HBO. And then... Oscar won't go. In a comeback as unwelcome as Hendrix's vomit, he'll be back next year, for another 'one last fight.'

I love boxing. It is art. I mean that. Nothing beats the purity of the sport and nothing matches the excitement of two gladitorial copmetitors giving their all. Yet as a business, it has many failings, among them the reluctance of a former star refusing to go away.

Oscar - go away.

You've got money, you've got a family and most importantly you have your health. You've given the sport some and taken away a lot more. Fight Saturday, win Saturday and then (and I mean this with all the love and goodwill in the world), fuck off.


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