Oscar De La Hoya criticizes those calling for Deontay Wilder’s retirement: ‘Give the man his respect’

Deontay Wilder is in a career rut, and it’s bad enough that many pundits and fans are calling for his retirement—something that has rubbed Oscar De La Hoya the wrong way.

Following his latest defeat, many have urged Wilder to hang up the gloves, but De La Hoya believes that’s a decision that belongs to Wilder and that people have no business weighing in on what he should do.

“Deontay Wilder got knocked out, OK? But there’s no need to bash him,” De La Hoya said in an Instagram Live. “There’s no need to say, ‘Oh, he must retire and this and that.’ There’s no need to bash him. Deontay Wilder will make his decision whether he wants to retire or not.

“You have to give the man his respect and respect his decision. My thinking behind it is, never tell a fighter when to retire. It’s a personal decision. It’s a decision only a fighter should make. This is our livelihood, this is our love, this is our passion.”

Wilder is 1-4 in his past five outings and has been stopped in three of those losses. This past Friday, China’s Zhilei Zhang put him away in the fifth round of their bout in Saudi Arabia. For many, it’s not only the defeats, but also how Wilder has looked.

De La Hoya invites Wilder to take some time off, ignore the critics, and then make a decision on his career.

“So Deontay, keep it going, man,” De La Hoya said. “Whatever you do, whatever you decide, take your time, go on a vacation and take your beautiful family. When you come back and make the decision, you’ll make the right one in your heart, for yourself. This is a very personal decision. This is life, so take your time, brother.”

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie