LAS VEGAS — Former six-division champion Oscar De La Hoya has voluntarily checked himself into an undisclosed treatment facility and will not attend Saturday’s showdown between Floyd Mayweather and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. The 40-year-old De La Hoya, the president and founder of Golden Boy Promotions, one of the most powerful promotional companies in boxing and the co-promoter of Mayweather-Alvarez, confirmed the news in a statement released Tuesday afternoon.
De La Hoya–who has admitted to battling alcohol and cocaine addictions in the past–did not indicate what he was seeking treatment for. In 2011, De La Hoya checked himself into a rehab facility for undisclosed reasons.
“Canelo Alvarez and I have big fights coming up this weekend. His is in the ring and mine in treatment,” De La Hoya said. “I will not be at the fight to cheer Canelo to victory since I have voluntarily admitted myself to a treatment facility. I explained this to Canelo, and he understood that my health and long-term recovery from my disease must come first. Thank you for your understanding. I ask for your support during this difficult time and for me and my family.”
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer said that in the past week De La Hoya had opened up to him about his ongoing problems. Schaefer admitted, however, that he was surprised by the timing of the decision.
“He really sounded very bad,” Schaefer said. “It wasn’t one of the things when you can wait until next week. I was surprised. But at the same time I was very supportive. I didn’t try to convince him that he had to be here. It wouldn’t have been the advice of a friend. I was hoping it wouldn’t happen but it did happen. I’m very proud of him. It’s not perfect timing, but what is? They say the show must go on. Oscar has a fight where he is and we have a big fight here.”
Both Alvarez and Mayweather expressed support for De La Hoya.
“I support him in his life battle,” Alvarez said. “I am sure he is going to win his battle, and I am going to win mine.”
Said Mayweather, “I wish him nothing but the best. Hopefully he can pull through, like a true champion.”
Schaefer said he didn’t know how long De La Hoya would be in rehab. In interviews, De La Hoya has previously admitted that his addictions led him to consider suicide.
“Within a couple of years, just thinking, ‘Is my life even worth it?,’” De La Hoya said in a 2011 interview with Univision. “I don’t have the strength, I don’t have the courage to take my own life. But I was thinking about it.
“There were drugs. My drug of choice was cocaine and alcohol. Cocaine was recent, the last two years, last two-and-a-half 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 like … nobody can say anything to me. It took me to a place where I can reach out and just grab my Mom.”
– Chris Mannix