Former world champ Oscar De La Hoya says he’s making a comeback to the ring. Photo by: Akira Kouchiyama

Oscar De La Hoya
Former world champ Oscar De La Hoya says he’s making a comeback to the ring.

Back in the late 1970s, golf marketers hit on a brilliant scheme to combine their sport, the legends of the game and the romanticism people tend to hold in their hearts for the good, old days.

The Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf was an annual event that brought together all of golf’s true legends in the 50-over age bracket to compete in a team format. It was the proverbial perfect storm. People flocked to see the greats that they’d grown up admiring once again tearing up the links.

It didn’t matter that the course set-up was far more forgiving than on the PGA Tour. People looked past the paunches and the greying temples of their childhood heroes and simply revelled in the chance to watch them compete once more.

This concept gave birth to the PGA Seniors Tour, what today is known as the Champions Tour. It’s an idea that works perfectly in golf.

Boxing, in case anyone hasn’t noticed, is nothing like golf. After going 12 rounds in the ring, no boxers ever said to each other, “Want to hit each other for another 12?” Boxers don’t spend two hours in the gym after finishing a fight trying to iron out the kinks in their punching swing by working the heavy bag.

Boxing isn’t a game. Growing up, you didn’t go up and down the street, gathering up the neighborhood kids to head to the park to play boxing.

Boxing has never had a seniors tour.

Until now.

Suddenly, it seems like a plethora of boxing’s all-time greats have listened to Bruce Springsteen’s Glory Days one too many times. Boxing is being infected with a pandemic of delusions of grandeur.

Tyson vs Jones

Tyson vs Jones
Tyson vs Jones

Roy Jones Jr. will fight Mike Tyson in a battle of 50-something former champs. Photo by Fedyanin Nikita (Wikimedia).

After footage was revealed showing former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson, 54, displaying his punching fury, Iron Mike began to talk about returning to the ring. There was even discussion of Tyson fighting current heavyweight champ and namesake Tyson Fury.

There was also speculation of a third Tyson-Evander Holyfield bout. Instead, Roy Jones Jr., 51, like Tyson a former world champ who’s currently eligible for AARP benefits, emerged as the opponent in this senior showdown.

These two long in the tooth fighters are supposed to clash Nov. 28th in Los Angeles. There are even odds available on this bout at some of the best boxing betting sites, where Tyson is listed as the -350 favorite to do more than keep up with Jones.

Tyson hopes to use this bout to spawn his Legends Only League, through which he hopes to stage a series of live events pitting retired athletes against each other. Someone might want to tell him – from a reasonably safe distance, of course – that LOL is not an acronym you want associated with your product.

Pacquiao vs Marquez?

At 41, Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao hasn’t stepped in the ring for real in over a year. There’s been plenty of debate over who the Pacman should fight next, or whether he should even be fighting at all.

It appears that he may have found his answer by stepping into Mr. Peabody’s Wayback Machine. Following Tyson’s lead, former champ and fierce Pacquiao rival Juan Manuel Marquez, 46, posted an Instagram video of himself putting in some work in the ring. Like Tyson, he looks to be in splendid physical condition.

Instantly, there was talk of a fifth bout between eight-weight world champ Pacquiao and Marquez.

De La Hoya vs ?

Somehow, strains of Felix Unger shaking his head in disdain and bellowing, “Oscar, Oscar, Oscar,” seem appropriate here. Ex-world champion Oscar De La Hoya is talking about a comeback.

The Golden Boy insists he’s returning for real. “I miss being in the ring, I love boxing,” De La Hoya told ESPN. “Boxing is what gave me everything I have today, and I just miss it.”

De La Hoya doesn’t have an opponent picked out yet, although former UFC world champ Conor McGregor has been mentioned.

In his last fight, De La Hoya suffered a TKO loss to Pacquiao in 2008.

Maybe he can fight the winner of the Pacquiao-Marquez bout and keep this senior ring tour rolling.