Fighter Oscar De La Hoya, also called “The Golden Boy,” was born in Montebello, La, California on February 4, 1973. De La Hoya won a gold medal in the 1992 Olympics in the age of 19, and went to win 10 world titles in six different weight classes. De La Hoya was among the most famous fighters in the annals of the sport, creating countless millions of dollars from his pay per view fights before his retirement in 2009.
Produced on February 4, 1973, in Montebello, La, California, Oscar De La Hoya’s parents moved to America from Mexico before he was born. Oscar started boxing at age 6. His idol was the Olympic gold medalist Sugar Ray Leonard, who became a star following the 1976 Summer Olympics before going professional; Leonard became the very first fighter to win titles in 5 divisions, from welter to light heavyweight.
At age 15, De La Hoya won the national Junior Olympic 119-pound title; he took home the 125-pound title the following year. One year after, having a triumph in the U.S. Amateur Boxing tournament (132 pounds), De La Hoya was named Fighter of the Year by USA Boxing.
Together with the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, rapidly approaching, De La Hoya turned his mom’s vision right into a powerful focus because of his training. After an upset victory in the first round on the Cuban fighter Julio Gonzalez, De La Hoya got the better of Marco Rudolph of Germany to win gold and end up being the only U.S. fighter to take home a medal from Barcelona.
Four months after, De La Hoya got the WBO lightweight title at the same time, knocking out Jorge Paez in the next round.
Despite De La Hoya’s standing as the ‘Golden Boy’ of boxing, some critics believed he’d just not confronted enough quality competitors. A lot of those uncertainties were eliminated in June 1996, when De La Hoya confronted his biggest challenge to date in Julio Cesar Chavez, an experienced and popular Mexican combatant as well as the reigning World Boxing Council (WBC) junior welterweight champ.
In January 1997, De La Hoya successfully defended his junior welterweight title. Transferring around the 147-pound weight class, he won the WBC welterweight title in Vegas in April of this year, defeating the reigning champ and 1984 Olympic gold medalist Pernell ‘Sweet Pea’ Whittaker, a professional winner in four different weight classes. With that success, De La Hoya affirmed his standing as the most effective fighter, pound-for-pound, in the planet.
De La Hoya’s reign as welterweight champ would continue until September 18, 1999, when he confronted the hard hitting Felix Trinidad in among the very anticipated fights of the decade. As a record breaking amount of devotees saw the fight program on pay per view television, Trinidad given De La Hoya his fist loss ever in a 12-round unanimous decision for the WBC welterweight title. Another loss in 2000 to Sugar Shane Mosely prompted De La Hoya to take some time off from boxing.
His good looks and undeniable gift made De La Hoya a hit with fans as well as the media right from the start of his career. Outside the ring, he became the best known fighter in The United States, earning respect from many for his charity and community service efforts including a non-profit foundation as well as a youth boxing facility in his previous East Los Angeles area. In 2000, De La Hoya released his first record, in both English and Spanish, on the EMI/Latin label. Entitled Oscar, the record topped Latin dance charts as well as a single ‘Ven a Mi,’ was nominated for a Grammy Award.
De La Hoya returned to the ring in March 2001, surpassing Arturo Gatti in the fifth round of his first battle after his return. In the age of 28, he was the youngest fighter ever to have won five world titles.
Everything hasn’t been golden with this boxing happening, however. He lost a middleweight title fight to Bernard Hopkins in 2004. De La Hoya took time from the ring and focused on different areas of his life. De La Hoya made a triumphal return in 2006 using a technical knockout of his rival Richardo Mayorga.
De La Hoya continues to be preparing himself for a life after boxing. Already created as a boxing promoter, De La Hoya enlarged his company in 2006. He declared a new property enterprise called Golden Boy Partners, that will construct retail, commercial, and residential developments in urban Latino communities.
De La Hoya retired from boxing on April 14, 2009.