Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Golden Era

Oscar announced his retirement yesterday at a press conference in Los Angeles. Some speculated that he may fight one more time in order to exit with a Win, but the majority was correct in predicting his retirement announcement. Though he "promises" his family and supporters that he is indeed, done, I can't help but wonder if he'll come out of retirement to fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. It would certainly be a poetic end to an illustrious career, no matter what the outcome.

Oscar De La Hoya can most certainly be credited with bringing the popularity of Boxing to new heights in America. Aptly named "The Golden Boy", his good looks and charm seemed in stark contrast to the barbarity of the sport he claims he was born to do, which was compelling to us. It made us want to see if this guy could fight. And it made us cheer him on.

Personally, I would have preferred he stayed more elusive and mysterious rather than constantly being in the public eye. His media training and business persona made him less human somehow when watching him on series' like HBO's 24/7. Just one aspect of how being a top promoter and top fighter can be confusing and contradictory, I suppose.

As tough as it must have been for Oscar to utter the words "retirement", I am very happy for him and optimistic about it. Unlike most fighters in the twilight of their careers, Oscar has built an empire for himself in Golden Boy Promotions and certainly will never need to struggle through his retirement. He will not need to face the impossible decision of needing to feed his family versus risking his health and life by fighting past his prime like most fighters do.

Congratulations on a stellar career, Oscar. And thank you for the memories.

P.S. Oscar's heartfelt retirement announcement reminded me of other iconic sports heroes who have retired and one stood out as my all-time favorite retirement speech --> Click here to watch Andre Agassi say goodbye like a true champion (to skip the preamble, FF to 6:25).  The crowd gave him a 3 minute standing ovation and the words he chose to leave the court officially will be remembered always.

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