Posted 12:00 AM | May 3, 2008
|Weight Class:||Light Middleweight|
39 Wins | 6 Losses | 30 KOs
|Hometown:||Los Angeles, CA|
|Birthdate:||February 4, 1973|
A superstar whose popularity transcends boxing, Oscar De La Hoya is considered to be one of the best fighters in the world at any weight - "Pound-for-Pound." He is also the biggest non-heavyweight attraction and moneymaker at the gate, defeating 18 current or former world champions, one twice, in the process.
On May 5, 2007, De La Hoya returned to the ring in one of the most highly anticipated bouts of the last 25 years when he battled Floyd Mayweather Jr. at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, and though he lost a hard-fought and close 12 round split decision, 'The Golden Boy's status as an elite fighter was untouched, and his box office power was cemented forever as the bout set records for pay-per-view buys and revenue generated in the state of Nevada.
This bout followed a triumphant return to the squared circle by the native of East LA, who showed no signs of ring rust after a 20 month layoff from the ring as he destroyed Ricardo Mayorga in six rounds to win the WBC junior middleweight championship of the world on May 6, 2006. The victory was one of the greatest and most emphatic in the storied career of the 'Golden Boy', who has been at the top of the sport ever since turning pro after winning a Gold medal for the United States at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.
Oscar has been successful at the highest levels of competition, and has beaten current or former world champions Ricardo Mayorga, Felix Sturm, Fernando Vargas, Pernell Whitaker, Arturo Gatti, Ike Quartey, Julio Cesar Chavez twice, Hector Camacho, Miguel Angel Gonzalez, James Leija, Genaro Hernandez, Rafael Ruelas, John John Molina, Jorge Paez, Javier Francisco Castillejo, Yory Boy Campas, Jimmi Bredahl and Troy Dorsey.
Oscar also fought undisputed world middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins in a title unification bout on September 18, 2004, and after a close battle, Hopkins stopped De La Hoya in the ninth round. Oscar lost no prestige in defeat though, gaining the respect of Hopkins and the boxing community for his continued willingness to fight the best.
Oscar had won the WBO middleweight world title on June 5, 2004 with a 12-round unanimous decision against defending champion Felix Sturm of Germany. His previous fight was a controversial decision loss against Shane Mosley - the vast majority of people who watched the fight, some 75 % according to various internet polls, thought Oscar deserved to win. Regarding that fight, Oscar said, "When I fought Mosley the first time around, I felt like I lost, that he got me that night. With this fight, I just don't feel that way. I don't want to blame anyone or point fingers, but that will be a mystery to me for the rest of my life. I put it in its proper place. I'm moving forward. After talking with my family and my wife, I feel wonderful. I feel like the champ. My body and my mind feel great. I feel fresh. I feel at ease."
De La Hoya's road to greatness began on the tough streets of East Los Angeles, California. He once said, "I was a little kid who used to fight a lot on the street and get beat up. But I liked boxing. So my dad took me to the gym." Oscar started boxing at the age of six and reportedly had 228 amateur fights (223-5)...his father and grandfather were both boxers, but it was clear that the most talented member of the De La Hoya clan was Oscar, who earned a spot on the 1992 US Olympic team.
At the Barcelona games, De La Hoya defeated Marco Rudolph by a 7-2 decision in the finals to become the only U.S. gold medalist in the 1992 games; Oscar had vowed to win at the Olympics for his mother, who died of breast cancer when he was working towards making the Olympic team. Oscar said, "The most important thing I've done in my life was winning the Olympic gold medal for my mother. Every time I won, it was like telling my mom, 'Here is another one for you.' She was my motivation, my biggest fan.' "...
De La Hoya turned pro with much fanfare on November 23, 1992, with a first round knockout of Lamar Williams. By his eighth fight he had stopped tough veteran Troy Dorsey in the first round, and by his 12th he was a world champion, as he stopped Jimmi Bredahl in 10 rounds on March 5, 1994 to win the WBO super featherweight championship.
After defending his title once, De La Hoya moved up to the lightweight division and added another title to his trophy case as he knocked out Jorge Paez in two rounds on July 29, 1994 to win the WBO crown at 135 pounds. Less than a year later, he unified the title with a second round TKO in a highly anticipated local battle with Rafael Ruelas, and went on to stop highly regarded Genaro Hernandez and Jesse James Leija before making another jump in weight to 140 pounds in 1996.
At junior welterweight, De La Hoya continued to be devastating as he halted Mexican icon Julio Cesar Chavez and Miguel Angel Gonzalez, and he then tested the waters at 147 pounds in impressive fashion by winning the WBC welterweight crown from Pernell Whitaker and defending it seven times before losing a controversial 12 round decision to Felix Trinidad on September 18, 1999.
De La Hoya's attempt to regain his title in June of 2000 was foiled by Shane Mosley, but a voyage to junior middleweight met with spectacular success as he TKOed local rival Fernando Vargas on September 14, 2002.
Since that bout (and in practically every one before it), every event involving De La Hoya has been a major occurrence, and even his out of the ring exploits have been accepted warmly by his legion of fans. In 2000, Oscar recorded a pop music CD that was nominated for a Grammy Award, and in December of 2001, he formed his own boxing promotion company, Golden Boy Promotions, which has quickly risen to its current status as one of the premier promotional companies in the sport today.
In October 2001, De La Hoya married Puerto Rican singer Millie Corretjer in a private ceremony in Puerto Rico; Oscar said, "Ever since I met her, my life has been different. I have what I want. I have my jewel in Millie." They have two children, Oscar Gabriel De La Hoya and Nina Lauren Ninette De La Hoya.
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