Former champs admit drug abuse
LOS ANGELES -- Two former world boxing champions admitted alcohol and drug abuse while training for prize fights during the latter part of their careers.
In a wide-ranging interview, Mexican-American Oscar De La Hoya and Mexican legend Julio Cesar Chavez said during the premiere of ESPN Deportes' new talk show "El Bar" (9 p.m. Friday ET on ESPN Deportes U.S.) that alcohol and drug abuse was common for both as their boxing careers wound down. The former champions reunited for the first time in 15 years for the taping in Los Angeles.
I was drinking during camp. A week before the fight with (Manny) Pacquiao, I was having wine, beers, because I said he is not going to beat me.” -- Oscar De La Hoya
De La Hoya admitted to host Andres Agulla that he drank before at least two championship fights -- one against Manny Pacquiao and another he would not identify. Chavez, who retired from boxing in 2005 with a 107-6-2 record, declined to mention specific fights before which he drank, but admitted there were several.
"The truth ... during my training, it increased more and more," Chavez said. "For example, at times, I would leave spaces of a month and a half without using drugs or alcohol, but afterwards, I would shorten that time.
"Then later, it would be one month, 20 days, later 15 days. One week, four days, three days, so it would not show in the doping (tests)."
De La Hoya, a successful promoter and multiple world champion, explained that he would plan on using alcohol in such a way that it wouldn't be detected.
"We are very intelligent," De La Hoya said. "We knew how to plan to work the system."
De La Hoya, a former Olympic gold medalist who finished his career with a 39-6 record, said he and Chavez prepared well for their fights for much of their careers, but admitted that during his training for the Pacquiao fight in 2008, the final bout of his career, he drank regularly during the final stages of camp.
"I was drinking during camp. A week before the fight with Pacquiao, I was having wine, beers, because I said he is not going to beat me," De La Hoya said. "I have the height, the weight, he couldn't beat me."
Both Chavez and De La Hoya underwent rehab and by their own admission have been clean for a few years.
In the program, Chavez and De La Hoya discuss their two fights, their years in the ring, their humble beginnings and how they sparred in 1992, before the Barcelona Olympics.