De La Hoya announced in a statement released Tuesday that he would miss the megafight that Golden Boy is promoting between undefeated junior middleweight titleholders Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez — the biggest fight of the year — on Saturday night at the MGM Grand because of his issues.
“Canelo Alvarez and I have big fights coming up this weekend,” De La Hoya, who has been something of a mentor to the 23-year-old Alvarez, said in the statement. “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 long-term recovery from my disease must come first. Thank you for your understanding. I ask for your support and privacy during this difficult time for me and my family.”
Although De La Hoya, 40, did not specify what substance he was using, he is an admitted alcoholic and has said he has abused cocaine in the past.
In May 2011, De La Hoya missed another major fight Golden Boy was involved in, Bernard Hopkins’ historic victory against Jean Pascal in their rematch in Montreal to become the oldest fighter in boxing history to win a world title. De La Hoya had checked himself into a rehab facility in the weeks before the fight, although the news of his problem came out on the day of the fight.
De La Hoya, who won a 1992 Olympic gold medal, retired shortly after Manny Pacquiao stopped him in the eighth round in 2008.