BILL DWYRE

Oscar De La Hoya continues the fight against alcoholism

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Oscar de la Hoya

Oscar de la Hoya is continuing his long fight toward staying sober. (Jed Jacobsohn / Golden Boy via Getty Images / May 4, 2013)

--"Now, things feel sincere."

--"I'm a nice guy, but I did bad things, made bad decisions. I can't go back."

In De La Hoya's case, the cliche is the perfect summary. He is in the fight of his life.

He says he has slipped a couple of times. Just admitting that is painful. Also vital. He says the key thing is, when that has happened, he has gone immediately to his wife. No denial. Just remorse and new resolve.

He says that one drink was never enough. In fact, 1,000 drinks weren't enough.

"If anybody thinks this is easy," he says, "I'll tell them I'd rather get in the ring with Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, George Foreman and Manny Pacquiao — all at the same time. That would be easier."

The fourth step of the AA program that De La Hoya has embraced is making amends. Recently, he stopped in at a liquor store in East Los Angeles, where he grew up. For years, he says, he and friends would steal candy from the store.

"It probably added up to hundreds of dollars," he says.

He walked in and told the owner he was sorry.

"He may not have even been the owner back then," De La Hoya says. "He looked at me kind of funny. He didn't say much, but he knew who I was.

"I walked out, had this great feeling and said, 'Wow.' "

De La Hoya says he has "about a thousand" of those meetings still to come.

bill.dwyre@latimes.com

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