Oscar De La Hoya, the ex fighter known as "The Golden Boy" who now heads his own fight promotion company, checked himself into a rehab facility sometime in the last few weeks, reports the celebrity gossip website TMZ.
A report running on ESPN.com quoted Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions as explaining that the reason Oscar wasn't in Montreal to watch Golden Boy fighter Bernard Hopkins fight Jean Pascal on Saturday night is because he is currently in a rehab. Oscar gave a statement, which ran on ESPN.com. "After doing an honest evaluation of myself, I recognize that there are certain issues that I need to work on," De La Hoya said. "Like everyone, I have my flaws, and I do not want to be one of those people that is afraid to admit and address those flaws. "Throughout my career and my life, I have always met all challenges head-on, and this is no different. I am confident that with the support of my family and friends, I will become a stronger, healthier person."
TSS wishes Oscar well in this fight. The boxer is certainly not alone in his predicament, as fighters Ricky Hatton and Joe Calzaghe also recently tangled publicly with substance abuse issues after exiting the ring. Oscar retired in 2009 after he was soundly thrashed by Manny Pacquiao in December 2008. His ring record stands at 39-6.
The rehab stint comes as a surprise to me. I follow De La Hoya on Twitter and confess I've become fonder of him, seen him more as flesh and blood human as I've read his Tweets, which frequently contain more "truth," more emotion, than many have come to expect from the boxer, who can come off as something of a guarded sort when relating to the media. In the past few days, Oscar has been even more raw than usual on Twitter.
"Take a deep breathe and let out all that anger that makes you hate.it really is going to be o.k," he wrote to his followers on May 20. He also wrote, "Stop finding excuses not to live.life is controlled by what you make of it and not of what it makes of you." He posted a photo of a gorgeous sunset vista, and wrote, "I feel on top of the world" on May 19. Perhaps he took the photo from his room at the facility? The same day, he wrote, "Today I healed my pain so I can heal yours tomorrow."
Aged 38, Oscar held titles in six different weight classes. He grew up in East LA, and climbed the amateur ranks to a lofty position, winning a gold medal at the 1992 Olympics in Spain. Despite that nickname, which would indicate a gilded path to greatness, Oscar's life hasn't been an easy ride. His mom died in 1990 from breast cancer. In June 2008, he was dragged thru the mud by an ex stripper, after photos of the boxer dressed in fishnet lingerie turned up. She tried to sue him, but dropped the suit when the photos were found to be doctored.