Just days before the biggest fight in Oscar De La Hoya's career as a promoter, the founder of Golden Boy Promotions and former boxing champion has reportedly checked into a rehab facility, according to Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports:
De La Hoya's client, Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, is set to face Floyd "Money" Mayweather in a 152-pound catchweight bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
This isn't the first time that De La Hoya has struggled with substance abuse. According to Alfredo R. Berrios of ESPNDeportesLosAngeles.com, De La Hoya admitted to drinking heavily during the lead-up to two championship fights during his boxing career, including one against Manny Pacquiao.
"I was drinking during camp. A week before the fight with Pacquiao, I was having wine, beers, because I said he is not going to beat me. I have the height, the weight, he couldn't beat me," De La Hoya said.
In addition to alcohol abuse, De La Hoya also told Univision that he was addicted to cocaine at one point, according to Melissa Rohlin of the Los Angeles Times:
There were drugs. My drug of choice was cocaine and alcohol, hmm. Cocaine was recent. The last 2 years, last 2½ years and I depended more on the alcohol than the cocaine. It took me to a place where I felt safe. It took me to a place where I felt as if nobody can say anything to me. It took me to a place where I just can reach out and grab my mom.
It is unclear what kind of demons De La Hoya is currently battling, but it couldn't have possibly come at a worse time. The fight between Mayweather and Alvarez very well may be the biggest boxing has seen since De La Hoya himself challenged Mayweather six years ago.
CBS Sports' Evan Hilbert provides a statement from De La Hoya, who won't be attending the fight:
“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 longterm recovery from my disease must come first."
According to Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes, Alvarez and Mayweather are set to challenge the pay-per-view buys record of 2.5 million set by De La Hoya and Mayweather in 2007. Also, they have already broken the gate record by registering $19.9 million in ticket sales.
With so little star power in boxing today, it is very rare that two legitimate stars such as Alvarez and Mayweather lock horns. Because of that, all eyes figure to be on them come Saturday night.
De La Hoya perhaps came closer than anyone to beating the undefeated Mayweather, so he would have been a great asset to Alvarez in terms of moral support and strategy. De La Hoya's absence could potentially have an adverse effect on Canelo's mindset.
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