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Sober Oscar De La Hoya Pursues Golf

The one-time "Golden Boy" of boxing is more than a year clean, and starting over with a new sport.

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Things are on the upswing for De La Hoya.
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By May Wilkerson

06/25/12

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Getting sober can feel like starting over; it is often heard in the recovery community that addicts are given the opportunity to live two lifetimes in one. Perhaps no one exemplifies this opportunity for transformation better than one-time boxing champ Oscar de la Hoya, who is clean and sober for over a year, repairing his marriage, and taking on a new sport: golf. De La Hoya, 39, earned his reputation as boxing's "Golden Boy" after scoring a gold medal at the Barcelona olympics, 20 years ago. But despite career success that included 17 world champions and 10 world titles, his addictions nearly beat him to a pulp—his dark past included cocaine addiction, alcohol abuse, and sex scandals that nearly destroyed his marriage, including rape allegations. “I almost lost everything,” says the ring legend, who had his first drink aged nine. But a little over a year after checking himself into rehab in Malibu, CA, De La Hoya has maintained his sobriety with the aid of 12-step meetings, recovered his wife's trust—and is now pursuing career aspirations as a pro golfer. He discovered golf in his 20s and pursued the sport as a hobby even as his boxing career took off. These days he plays weekly and plans to try out for the Champions Tour when he turns 50 in 2023. “Got the green light from the wife,” he says. “She understands that golf fulfills me.”

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