(CBS) – “It’s the biggest fight of my life,” Oscar De La Hoya tells Sports Central’s Jim Hill.
But De La Hoya isn’t preparing to get into the ring, a place where his accomplishments earned him a statue outside Staples Center. Instead, he’s fighting demons inside that, at one time, drove him to thoughts of suicide.
“It crosses your mind. I would never do something like that because first of all I have a beautiful family. I care for myself so much, and I care for my family so much, and a lot of other people for who I care about, but it crosses your mind,” said De La Hoya.
From the outside, it all seems so hard to believe.
De La Hoya, an Olympic champion before becoming an adult, seemingly had it all –a beautiful wife, championship belts and tremendous wealth with a pristine reputation.
That’s why the boxing community was shocked when the Golden Boy revealed his battles with infidelity and substance abuse, which began at the age of eight.
“In a Hispanic household, not every Hispanic household,” De La Hoya explains, “it’s customary to be around the alcoholic beverages and the fiestas and weekend parties. It just happened that this little kid fell in love with the drinks at an early age.”
Things spiraled out of control and peaked when pictures surfaced online of the Golden Boy dressed in drag, which ultimately led him to rehab in Malibu to get his life and family back.
“I have put my family through a lot, but as long as I keep walking that walk, one day at a time, things are looking brighter, things are looking really nice right now. Life couldn’t be better as we speak, ” De La Hoya said.
He continues his work at Golden Boy Promotions, where he is promoting Saturday’s fight at Staples Center between 46-year-old Bernard Hopkins and 29-year-old, Chad Dawson.