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Oscar's stage is the ring

Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Boxing's 'Golden Boy'
By Mike Puma
Special to

Signature Fight
June 7, 1996 -The WBC super lightweight title was at stake as Oscar De La Hoya faced Julio Cesar Chavez in Las Vegas. De La Hoya, the 7-5 favorite, wasted little time establishing control. Only 51 seconds into the fight, De La Hoya stuck two jabs near Chavez's left eye, opening up a cut that spurted blood across Chavez's face. Time was later called so Chavez could wipe his face, but before the first round ended, De La Hoya connected and messed up Chavez's face again.

Chavez survived three rounds, but the fight was stopped 23 seconds into the fourth. De La Hoya, who won all three rounds on the judges' cards, averaged an impressive 30 jabs per round.

"After it was over I was thinking, 'Man, this is an easy fight, easiest fight I've had,' " De La Hoya said. "Didn't get touched four rounds against a legend."

Odds 'n' Ends

  • Oscar's father Joel had a professional record of 9-3-1 in Mexico and Los Angeles.

  • Oscar missed classes his senior year at Garfield High School in Los Angeles to focus on boxing.

  • De La Hoya carries a food stamp in his wallet to remind him how poor his family was.

  • He is one of six U.S. Olympic lightweight champions. Harry Spanger (1904), Samuel Mosberg (1920), Ronald Hans (1968), Howard Davis (1976) and Pernell Whitaker (1984) are the others.

  • Following the 1992 closing ceremonies, De La Hoya was one of five U.S. athletes chosen to meet President George Bush Sr. "The President was very proud of me for achieving my dream," De La Hoya said. "His son was in Barcelona and saw every fight of mine."

  • De La Hoya left Los Angeles in 1992, when he and his family moved to a ranch house in Montebello, Calif.

  • In 1993, his first full year as a professional, De La Hoya fought nine times.

  • His first five victories were by KO. Then, after winning an eight-round decision over Mike Grable, De La Hoya began a streak of 10 knockouts.

  • He has fought with a belt on the line 22 times.

  • In 1997, Forbes ranked him as America's third-highest paid athlete of the year with $38 million ($37 million in purses and $1 million in endorsements).

  • In December 1998, De La Hoya was accused of rape for the second time. Both cases were settled out of court for undisclosed sums.

  • In December 1999, a woman claimed that De La Hoya had sexually assaulted her several years earlier. The case was dropped three months later because of a lack of evidence.

  • In 2001, after firing Bob Arum as his promoter, De La Hoya replaced him with Jerry Perenchio, who owns Univision, the country's largest Spanish-language TV network. De La Hoya went back to Arum before the year was out.

  • In registering a fifth-round TKO of Arturo Gatti in 2000, De La Hoya landed 62 percent of his punches.

  • De La Hoya is an avid golfer. He says he has a single-digit handicap.

  • When preparing for a fight, De La Hoya trains six hours per day; he takes Sundays off to play golf.

  • De La Hoya wants to pursue acting once his boxing career is finished.

  • He has appeared on the cover of quite a few magazines, including People and Playgirl.

  • In November 2001, De La Hoya had surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left wrist and to have bone spurs removed from his left hand. He underwent three months of rehab.

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