Former boxing champions Oscar De La Hoya and Julio Cesar Chavez said that they abused drugs and alcohol while training for fights at the tail end of their careers.
The star boxers, who underwent rehab and say that they have been clean for a few years, discussed their former vices during the premiere of ESPN Deportes’ new talk show “El Bar,” which airs Friday at 6 p.m.
De La Hoya, a Mexican American legend, said that he drank before at least two championship fights, including the final bout of his career in 2008 against Manny Pacquiao.
“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.”
Chavez, a Mexican champion who retired from boxing in 2005 with a 107-6-2 record, also acknowledged that he drank before fights but he declined to reveal which ones.
“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, who finished his career with a 39-6 record, said that he would drink at strategic times to avoid detection.
“We are very intelligent,” De La Hoya said. “We knew how to plan to work the system.”