Dubai: Former boxer Oscar de la Hoya announced last week that he was “very seriously” considering a run for US president in 2020.
The 1992 Olympic gold medallist, who went on to claim multiple world titles across six different weight divisions, said: “If Kanye West can do it, why not me?”
“I’ve had millions of people tell me ‘Why don’t you stand up and have a bigger voice? And obviously the biggest voice you can have is being president.”
The 45-year-old of Mexican descent is currently assembling an exploratory team to assess his viability for candidacy, and “if the numbers look right, then I’m going to go for it”, he said.
Here are five other sports stars who have entered politics that The Golden Boy should probably have on speed dial.
In 2010, history’s first and only eight-division world boxing champion, Manny Pacquiao, was elected as a congressman to represent the Philippines’ province of Sarangani. He was re-elected in 2013, and made a senator three years later. Current Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte has continually tipped the Pac-Man to succeed him, and now the boxer, who has rumoured rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr pending, is considered to be a top contender for the 2022 Philippines presidential election. His stance in favour of reinstating capital punishment, while being against same sex marriage, hasn’t won him too many fans from the left however.
Pakistan’s former cricket captain and all-rounder Imran Khan became the country’s prime minister last month. Retiring from cricket in 1992 with 3,807 Test runs and 362 wickets, he went on to form the centrist Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (Pakistan Movement for Justice) party in 1996. He contested for a seat in the national assembly in 2002 and served as an opposition member from the district of Mianwali until 2007. Re-elected in 2013, he then went on to defeat the ruling PML-N in this year’s election, promising to crack down on corruption, improve democratic process, while putting the poor first.
Former AC Milan forward and 1995 Ballon d’Or winner George Weah is the current President of Liberia, after beating Joseph Boakai in last year’s election. He got involved in politics after his 2003 retirement from football, where he incidentally hung up his boots in Abu Dhabi with Al Jazira. He unsuccessfully ran for president in 2005 and vice-president in 2011, but his chance finally came last year. Weah cited fighting corruption, reforming the economy, combating illiteracy and improving life conditions as the main targets of his presidency in January’s swearing in ceremony, which was attended by fellow African players Didier Drogba and Samuel Eto’o.
Following his 2012 retirement from the ring, former heavyweight champion of the world, Vitali Klitschko, became a dominant figure on the streets of Kiev during Ukraine’s 2013/14 revolution against president Viktor Yanukovych. Yanukovych had sided more with Russia after the imprisonment of EU-leaning former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko. Klitschko was set to run for president to fill the void left by the ousted Yanukovych, but instead shifted his focus to becoming Mayor of Kiev, a position he still holds today. He remains pro-Europe and wants more transparency, advocating lower taxes to stimulate the economy, while fighting for greater human rights.
Ironically, the former Barcelona striker who won the World Cup for Brazil in 1994 was adamantly against his country hosting the competition 20 years later in 2014, citing fears of corruption and money laundering. The other half of the feared Ro-Ro attack partnership, with Ronaldo, retired in 2009, and was elected into the chamber of deputies, representing the Brazilian Socialist Party in 2010. He was elected into the senate in 2014 and last year left the socialists to become Rio head of the minor populist-centrist party Podemos, with whom he now aims to run for governor of Rio in next month’s general election.