Choices abound for De la Hoya after Mayorga pounding

When Oscar de la Hoya gets back to his adopted home in Puerto Rico, he’ll have plenty of lucrative choices to make about his revitalised career — whom to fight, when to fight and when to stop.

Deciding to stay at home with his wife and son might be the bravest choice of all.

De la Hoya got the boxing world buzzing on Saturday night after a 20-month absence from the ring, pounding Ricardo Mayorga from the opening-minute knockdown to the final flurry of head punches in the sixth round to claim the World Boxing Council super welterweight title.

The Golden Boy provided both a blast from the past and a thrilling taste of his potential future, in any one of several big-money matches that will be his for the choosing.

But De la Hoya might already have accomplished everything he needed to do by going out as a winner and a champion. Just minutes after pounding Mayorga, De la Hoya’s conflicting feelings were obvious.

”I always want to fight the best challenge out there, but there’s nothing on the table right now,” he said. ”The decision I’ll be making in the next few weeks, I’m sure will catch a lot of people by surprise.”

That surprise might be the decision to end a prolific career and move on to the full-time management of his extensive business interests, including his burgeoning career as a boxing promoter.

But against Mayorga, the 33-year-old recaptured his youth — or at least his 2002 form when he beat Fernando Vargas in the last match that showcased the best in the former Olympic gold medalist.

De la Hoya said he couldn’t allow his September 2004 loss to Bernard Hopkins to be the last memory of his boxing career.

Almost everybody outside of De la Hoya’s immediate family will want him to fight again. But now that De la Hoya is resting on the laurels of a standout performance, he said there’s ”a good chance” every sack of cash in the boxing world couldn’t draw him back into the ring against Floyd Mayweather Jnr, Winky Wright, Antonio Margarito or even Felix Trinidad.

A fight with Mayweather, generally considered the world’s best kilo-for-kilo fighter, is obviously the most intriguing — a clash of titans that should sell phenomenally. Mayweather himself called it ”the biggest fight in boxing history”, calling for a meeting on September 16.

But don’t get excited: Mayweather’s father, who’s also De la Hoya’s trainer and strategist, might not allow it, and De la Hoya won’t fight without him. Floyd Mayweather Snr’s relationship with his son has been rocky, but paternal bonds run deep.

”What kind of father am I if I let my son get knocked out?” Mayweather Snr asked. ”I’m not saying my son can’t win the fight, because he can … Everybody is talking about it, but ain’t nobody else got to lay down with that burden over their head.”

If the elder Mayweather can’t be swayed by a lucrative purse for both fighters, De la Hoya will have no shortage of suitors.

Margarito, the WBO welterweight champ, volunteered to fight his friend at the post-fight news conference. De la Hoya publicly contemplated meeting Wright, the longtime light-middleweight champion who will first fight Jermain Taylor on June 17 — but don’t expect a rematch with Trinidad, because De la Hoya has no intention of moving back up to middleweight. — Sapa-AP

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