Boxing: De La Hoya out to cut Mayorga down to size

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The Independent Online

Oscar De La Hoya won an Olympic gold medal in 1992 and has won world titles at six different weights. He has also made more money than most boxers, but for some reason he will end a two-year exile from the ring when he fights the sport's filthiest competitor Ricardo Mayorga in Las Vegas tonight.

Mayorga will be defending his World Boxing Council light-middleweight title, which De La Hoya held three years ago before fading from the sport to concentrate on his promotional company. Nobody close to De La Hoya can provide any reason for the man who recently became a father with his pop star wife coming back into boxing. However, Mayorga has insulted him at every press briefing and recently slapped him on the back of the head.

Mayorga has upset his opponents, television executives and various promoters, but he is at least an entertaining character and it helps that he can fight a bit.

The plan, according to De La Hoya, is to beat Mayorga, winning yet another title, and then have one final fight in September. But De La Hoya, like so many world-class and wealthy boxers in recent history, will struggle to ever walk away from the sport that has made him a multi-millionaire.

There was a time when great, retired champions were often forced by the taxman or a divorce lawyer to start fighting again, but De La Hoya has one of the most successful boxing promotional companies in America and dozens of other thriving businesses.

Mayorga is more than capable of ending De La Hoya's farewell year a few months early, but then again there is every chance that De La Hoya, a consummate professional, has studied the tapes and devised a cunning plan to win.