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De La Hoya announces his retirement

April 15, 2009 10:43 IST

Oscar De La Hoya, the "Golden Boy" who has held world titles in six different weight classes, announced his retirement from the ring on Tuesday.

The 36-year-old Los Angeles native, arguably the biggest name in contemporary boxing, ended a glittering career with a win-loss record of 39-6 including 30 knockouts.

"Boxing is my passion, boxing is what I was born to do," a visibly emotional De La Hoya told a news conference in downtown Los Angeles.

"And when I can't do it any more, when I can't compete at the highest level, it's not fair. It's not fair to me, it's not fair to the fans, it's not fair to nobody. I've come to the conclusion that's over, it's over inside the ring for me.

"Knowing that you're never going to compete again is a tough decision but now I am looking forward to the future of boxing. When I cannot compete at this level, I have come to the conclusion that it is over."

De La Hoya has not fought since being stunned by Filipino southpaw Manny Pacquiao with an eighth-round TKO in their non-title fight in Las Vegas in December.

Although Pacquiao had moved up two weight classes for his first bout at welterweight, he dominated De La Hoya from the opening bell, defying the American's longer reach and picking him off with straight left hands to the face.

At the end of the eighth round, De La Hoya's trainer signalled he had seen enough and the referee stopped the fight.

Shortly after his lop-sided defeat, De La Hoya said to his former trainer Freddie Roach: "You were right, Freddie, I don't have it any more."

The Mexican-American with the matinee idol good looks has been one of the most popular figures in boxing for more than a decade and was rated the sport's best pound-for-pound fighter for the first time in 1997.

According to many critics, the greatest fight of De La Hoya's career was his technical knockout of fellow American Fernando Vargas in Las Vegas in September 2002 when he unified the WBA and WBC super-welterweight titles.

In an eagerly anticipated bout dubbed "Bad Blood", De La Hoya floored WBA champion Vargas with a left hook to the head 70 seconds into the 11th round.

He was pounding a defenceless Vargas in the corner before referee Joe Cortez stopped the fight with 48 seconds remaining in the round. Vargas stormed out of the ring and was taken to a local hospital.

In May 2007, De La Hoya lost the WBC super-welterweight title on a split decision to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in Las Vegas in the highest-grossing fight in boxing history.

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