OSCAR DE LA HOYA - Boxing's Miltitalented Golden Boy
by Kaya Morgan
The boxing community speaks of Oscar De La Hoya in many different tones the savage punches, the stinging right jabs and left hooks, the speed of his hands, his brilliant footwork. Undisputedly a world champion, he is one of the most recognized, respected athletes on the globe and the youngest boxer ever to win six world titles in five weight divisions in four years. Yet, critics sometimes try to define his character simply by how many rounds the fight lasts. Like the young Muhammad Ali, they wonder how someone so physically attractive can also be so effective in the ring. As with many superstars, there is a depth of solid attributes below the surface that have helped bring him to where he is today.
At 28, it seems a lifetime away since the days that this young boxer, now at the top of his field, dreamt of becoming "the best" as he honed his boxing skills in the barrios of East Los Angeles. A third generation boxer, he needed little persuasion to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather, Vicente, and father, Joel, a professional boxer from Durango, Mexico. Then in 1992, he skyrocketed to fame as the only member of the U.S. Boxing team to receive a Gold Medal at the Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain, winning a 7-2 decision over Germany's Marco Rudolph. In one of the most memorable moments in Olympic history, he danced around the ring with the American flag in one hand and the Mexican flag in the other. But his greatest personal achievement and joy came when he dedicated the Gold Medal to the memory of his mother, Cecilia, who had lost her battle with breast cancer just a few months earlier, thus fulfilling the solemn promise he had made to her.
The many facets of this committed professional are endless. Beyond the ring, this handsome, warmhearted young athlete has become a true Latin heartthrob. Grammy-nominated for his successful music CD, Oscar De La Hoya, with guest appearances on the HBO hit series, Arli$$, co-starring in a Skaquille O'Neal music video and a well sought-after image capitalized in ads for Levi's, American Express, McDonalds's and Speed Stick just to name a few, is enough to make most women swoon. After boxing, his next love is playing a good game of golf on as many of the world's greatest courses as he can, considering his busy schedule. And, why not, this multitalented man has earned his leisure time.
Both as a tribute to his mother and to fulfill his greater vision of giving back to the community, he has painstakingly created the Oscar de La Hoya Foundation providing athletic and educational opportunities to help guide East Los Angeles youths toward positive lives through building self-esteem and success, thereby providing valuable alternatives to gang activity, juvenile delinquency and substance abuse. The Foundation further accomplishes its mission through academic scholarships available at the Oscar De La Hoya Youth Center both through the Learning Center and the Boxing Program as well as a mentoring program and internships for students at local colleges and universities. And, through a generous donation to White Memorial Medical Center, a new facility known as the Cecilia Gonzalez De La Hoya Cancer Center has been born.
Since his initial Golden Gloves victory in 1988 to his most recent triumph in 2001 with the WBC Super Welterweight Championship over Javier Castillejo, Oscar has continued to fire punches from all directions with knockouts of 27 opponents in 36 bouts. Discount him at your own risk. De La Hoya remains the rarest of all rarities a boxer who truly transcends the ring.
You can find more about De La Hoya at www.oscardelahoya.com
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