Oscar De La Hoya- Still Golden?

A retrospective and update – Flush from a successful career as a boxer, Oscar De La Hoya prepared for a life as an entrepreneur.


He might have been undecided about his future in the ring, but Oscar De La Hoya knew precisely what life after boxing had in store for him.

Mr. De La Hoya, who lost a marquee middleweight title bout to Bernard Hopkins on September 18, 2004 has spent the following years meticulously laying the groundwork for a business empire that from all appearances holds considerable promise.

Oscar De La Hoya

The centerpiece is Los Angeles-based Golden Boy Promotions (Mr. De La Hoya’s ring moniker has long been the golden boy), which guides the careers of some two dozen nationally ranked fighters, including Mr. De La Hoya himself, The firm has already inked lucrative broadcast deals with HBO Latino and the Univision sister network Telefutura, and is among the producers of the Fox reality series “The Next Great Champ.”

Led by Chief Executive Richard Schaefer, a former managing director of UBS North America, the firm also has begun burnishing its private investment portfolio. The company’s assets include a recently acquired 15-story building that will soon serve as its new headquarters.

For now, Mr. De La Hoya’s own boxing winnings are the lifeblood of Golden Boy. The Hopkins fight reportedly netted him more than $30 million, and he’s collectively earned approximately $200 million since turning pro in 1992. But even if his career were to end – prior to September 18 he maintained that he’d seriously consider retiring if he were to beat Mr. Hopkins – Mr. De La Hoya insists that Golden Boy is poised to prosper.

“Right now we haven’t even scratched the surface,” he says. “Boxing has so much room for growth. It’s amazing how when we have board meetings or meet with other people – we realize that there is so much room for improvement and growth.”

By all accounts – including his own – Mr. De La Hoya’s journey has been remarkable. Born in East Los Angeles to Mexican immigrant parents, Mr. De La Hoya was just 6 years old when he strapped on boxing gloves for the first time. It was at the urging of his father, former professional boxer Joel De La Hoya Sr., who had seen his youngest son fall prey to neighborhood bullies one too many times.

Amid the tumult of ghetto life, the ring increasingly became a haven for the younger Mr. De La Hoya. In 1988, he won the National Junior Olympic 119-pound championship, following it up the next year with the 125-pound title.

In 1990, Mr. De La Hoya won the gold medal in his weight class at the Goodwill Games in Seattle. At age 17, he was the youngest boxer competing. Two years later, at the Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona, he knocked out his first three opponents in the opening round before earning a rematch with Marco Rudolph, who had defeated him at the 1991 world championships. This time, Mr. De La Hoya knocked out Mr. Rudolph in the third round to earn the United States’ lone boxing gold medal that year.

The golden boy nickname was thus born. The victory was especially gratifying, as Mr. De La Hoya had earlier owed to win a gold medal to honor the memory of his mother, Cecilia, who died of breast cancer in October 1990.

“The Olympic gold medal is by far my biggest, achievement. And the reason is no one can take it away from me. The gold medal will always be mine. I can win world titles, I can lose world titles in the professional ranks, but that gold medal will always be mine,” Mr. De La Hoya says.

Turning pro, he soon hooked up with promoter Bob Arum before embarking on a torrid succession of emphatic conquests in the ring.

He earned first title in 1994, knocking out Jimmi Bredahl for the WBO junior lightweight belt. Later that year, he knocked out Jorge Paez for the \{B0 lightweight title.



Oscar De La Hoya 1997 Oscar De La Hoya drops Hector “Macho” Camacho in the 9th round and wins a unanimous decision


In 1995, Mr. De La Hoya knocked out Rafael Ruelas to gain the IBF lightweight title. A year later, he knocked out Julio Cesar Chavez to win the WBC super lightweight belt, following that up with a 12-rourd decision over Pernell Whitaker to claim the WBC welterweight championship in April 1997.

Mr. De La Hoya’s fortunes began to change in September 1999, when he lost a decision to Felix Trinidad. He subsequently lost to Shane Mosley before rebounding somewhat to post impressive victories over Arturo Gatti and Fernando Vargas.

In between, he cut a self-titled album of pop and romantic ballads, which was nominated for a Grammy award, and married Latin pop star Millie Corretjer.

In June of 2004, he won a questionable decision over Germany’s Felix Sturm to capture the WBO championship.

In 2004 at age 31, Mr. De La Hoya says he recognizes that his boxing career will soon draw to a close, even if – as some have suggested – he has unfinished business in the ring with Messrs. Trinidad and Mosley and now Mr. Hopkins.

“I just don’t feel I have to avenge anything at this point,” he said before the September 18, 2004 show down with Mr. Hopkins. “I just know that I have to be very smart and retire with all my marbles, because it’s such a dangerous sport and you have to be careful and know when to retire. So that’s what I’m considering now. The gloves are almost hung, let’s put it that way.”





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