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I'd take McGregor in two says De La Hoya

© Getty/AFP/File | Former boxer Oscar De La Hoya, seen in June 2017, flirted with the idea of a comeback in June 2015 only to rule it out a week later

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - 

Retired boxing world champion Oscar De La Hoya has said he would be ready to step back in the ring to face mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor.

The 44-year-old fighter turned promoter, who has not fought since being battered to defeat by Manny Pacquiao in 2008, said he has been "secretly training" and is confident he could beat UFC champion McGregor.

"You know I'm competitive," De La Hoya said on 'Golden Boy Radio with Tattoo and the Crew', a daily digital radio show.

"I still have it in me. I've been secretly training. I'm faster than ever and stronger than ever. I know I can take out Conor McGregor in two rounds. I'll come back for that fight. Two rounds. Just one more (fight). I'm calling him out. Two rounds, that's all I need. That's all I'm going to say."

De La Hoya flirted with the idea of a comeback in June 2015 only to rule it out a week later.

The 1992 Olympic gold medallist, a 10-time world champion, was one of the loudest critics of McGregor's foray into boxing earlier this year, when he lost a money-spinning duel with Floyd Mayweather.

McGregor, 29, was knocked out in the 10th round of that fight, which De La Hoya derided as a "circus" and a "farce".

De La Hoya said he would only consider fighting McGregor under boxing rather than MMA rules.

"Let's get it straight: In the cage, he would freaking destroy me," De La Hoya said. "Only in the ring.

"I've been working out for the last five months. (My confidence) is how I feel now from my training. I don't know what it is, but I'll tell you now that I've never felt so good before in my life."

© 2017 AFP