Boxers fight with money management

Marco Antonio Barrera’s ribs are hurting and Mike Tyson is fishing for lenient state boxing commissions. So, the Barrera-Morales and Tyson-Lewis fights are on hold.

This makes the upcoming Oscar de la Hoya-Fernando Vargas fight the current focus of the boxing world. Last week, de la Hoya announced that this would be his last fight, putting a new twist on a long-awaited grudge match between two heated L.A. rivals.

Last column I urged Mike Tyson to retire and continue his education at FAMU. No word yet from the registrar’s office on the Tyson application. This time I am reversing field. I think de la Hoya should reconsider his apparent retirement announcement.

So why urge Tyson to retire and become more learned and scholarly, yet leave de la Hoya to the riches and fame of the ring? Doesn’t Oscar need some book learning too? Is there a double standard at work here?

No. During his unexpected farewell press conference, de la Hoya initially said he wanted to retire by the age of 30 to maintain his health, so he could be a good father and husband and settle down. So far so good.

Then, de la Hoya started hemming and hawing about his money situation. He said he didn’t think he had enough money to last the next 10-15 years. His wife and family convinced him that he indeed had enough, so everything should be OK, hopefully.

The fact that de la Hoya is already questioning his financial security means he does not have enough money saved. For retirement, I think boxers need a good $100 million in reserve, spread over a diverse portfolio of investments. Joe Louis had an 11-year run as heavyweight champion. He died broke. Why did George Foreman make his comeback and fight into his 50s? The man had no money left at 40, and a lot of little Georges to feed.

To give an example of the financial incompetence of boxers…all of M.C. Hammer’s accountants were world-class prizefighters.

If I was a world champion, and I just won $10 million for a fight, I might actually deposit some of the loot in a savings account.

I could make an album, like Oscar de la Hoya, or Roy Jones, Jr. Boxers have often parlayed their artistic talents into gold mines.

Oscar thinks he can sing. He probably thinks he can act, too. He’s like Mariah Carey without the octaves.

Rather than wait for de la Hoya’s version of “Glitter,” or endure a third ” this is my last fight” pronouncement five years from now, just cut to the chase. Fight a couple more years, Oscar, so you’re truly set for retirement.