LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Boxing legend and gold medalist Oscar De La Hoya has defeated plenty of opponents inside the ring. The demon he continuously faces outside the ring, however, is a different kind of challenge.
The ten-time world title holder is struggling in his fight against addiction.
Following his career inside the ring, which took off after winning the gold medal in the 1992 Barcelona OlympicDe La Hoya excelled further, becoming one of the top boxing promoters in the world.
De La Hoya, who almost lost everything when he was in and out of rehab two years ago, sat down with CBS2/KCAL9’s Rick Garcia, and spoke about his ongoing fight.
“My lowest point was feeling depressed, feeling miserable, losing my family, on the verge of losing my kids, my marriage,” De La Hoya told Garcia. “My business was going to go out the window. I would have to say just loneliness and separation from the world.”
De La Hoya, who won titles through six different weight divisions in his career, has said that, while his addiction is the toughest fight of his life, talking about it publicly makes him feel better. He also suggests he hasn’t given up, despite the fervor of his addiction.
“Look it’s no secret,” De La Hoya said. “I actually love talking about it. What I went through, and what I’m going through, is the most difficult fight that I have ever faced. Everything that has happened to me is strictly for a reason. A positive reason. Whether I’m going through the fire at that moment, I’m not going to give up, because I’m going to walk right through the fire.”
The boxing star indicated that, while he briefly tried drugs, alcohol formed the root of his addiction.
“Drinking. I experimented with drugs, obviously, after I retired, but drinking was a huge problem for me,” De La Hoya said. “Obviously it’s my responsibility to do the work, because, once I go to a center and I come out, you are never cured. You are never cured. You have to do the work, and I love doing the work, because it makes me realize the beauty of life, that has to offer, life is just beautiful.”
De La Hoya greatly credits his wife, Millie Corretjer, with staying by his side through his fight, which De La Hoya says is tougher than any opponent he ever faced in the ring.
“Going in there with Manny Pacquiao, Mayweather. No, put in Mike Tyson, Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson. Put all those guys in the same ring, and it does not compare to what I did outside the ring,” De La Hoya admitted.””This is the toughest fight of my life that I’m fighting, but it is the most courageous thing I’ve ever done.”
A couple days after the interview, De Le Hoya reportedly voluntarily checked into a treatment facility.
De La Hoya released a statement about entering the facility:
“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 this Saturday 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 long-term recovery from my disease must come first.”