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Boxing elite wishes De La Hoya well in rehab

The SportsXchange

As boxing fans and professionals are preparing for what may be the richest fight in history Saturday, they are also extending best wishes to one of the sports' biggest names as former champion and current mega promoter Oscar De La Hoya surprised many when he returned to rehab to battle his own demons.

This is the second time since 2011 that De La Hoya, who is an admitted alcoholic and has a history with cocaine, has sought treatment for substance abuse.

The timing of this makes a dramatic statement itself considering he will miss Saturday night's huge fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Saul "Canelo" Alvarez at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, which is promoted by De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions.

Alvarez, the undefeated young Mexican who De La Hoya has mentored, was one of the first to wish De La Hoya well after hearing the shocking announcement Tuesday.

"I support him in his life battle," Alvarez said via a translator. "I am sure he is going to win his battle, and I am going to win mine."

De La Hoya went public with his decision in this statement:

"Canelo Alvarez and I have big fights coming up this weekend. His is in 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. Thank you for your understanding. I ask for your support and privacy during this difficult time for me and my family."

Richard Schaefer, Golden Boy's CEO and friend of De La Hoya, said that the former champ told him last week that problems were resurfacing, although Schaefer did not realize the enormity of those problems until he was among those surprised by the announcement and told ESPN's Dan Rafael "I am nobody's baby-sitter."

Still, Schaefer fully supports De La Hoya's decision, regardless of the timing.

"He really sounded very bad," Schaefer said of De La Hoya, per Rafael. "It wasn't one of the things where you can wait until next week. When you're sick, you go get help, but 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 (for seeking help). It's not perfect timing, but what is? The show must go on. Oscar has a fight where he is and we have a big fight here."

Saturday's fight is expected to rival pay for view buys of the 2007 bout between De La Hoya and Mayweather.

Although their relationship is not a warm one, Mayweather was among those who showed support for De La Hoya's difficult decision.

"I wish him nothing but the best," Mayweather said. "Hopefully, he can pull through, like a true champion."
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