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Oscar: Chavez fight changed things

Former boxing champion and current promoter Oscar De La Hoya remembers fighting for two nations when he was an amateur.

In 1992, he fought for the United States in the Olympics. And he was raised in East Los Angeles by Mexican immigrants.

"My Mexican heritage ... I'm so proud of, both my parents were born in Mexico, all of my family was born in Mexico," De La Hoya said.

"I go to the Olympics in Barcelona representing the U.S., I win the gold, I come back everything is great, they love me. Everyone from Mexicans from everybody all over the world," he said in a wide-ranging interview with ESPN's One Nacion webcast, No Hablo Espanol. "It's like Oscar-mania."

"Once I turned pro, everyone was with me. Cheering me on and in my corner."

De La Hoya, who finished with a career mark of 39-6, remembers there was a turning point.

"When I faced [Julio Cesar] Chavez, the Mexican national hero, there were even times when family members ... like my father was like, 'Hey, take it easy. He's our guy, '" De La Hoya said with a smile.

"Boxing to the Mexican nationals to us, we take very serious. So when I beat Chavez, everything just changed. I was receiving death threats. I was receiving threats from Mexico," De La Hoya said.

"I loved wearing the U.S. patch on one leg [of the boxing trunks] and the Mexican patch on the other leg," said the boxer, who won 10 titles in six different weight classes. "They sent letters over telling me you have to take off the Mexican national flag [patch from the trunks]. I remember going to appearances and people throwing eggs at me."

"I beat their national hero. I beat Julio Cesar Chavez," he said, acknowledging that Chavez was past his prime. De La Hoya beat the Mexican legend in 1996 and again in 1998.

"I said, let me stick to my message. I'm proud of being U.S. citizen," De La Hoya said. "But at the same time, I'm so proud of my Mexican roots and heritage and I'm never going to forget about that. Now there are so many ... [who] now realize we're in the same position Oscar was back then."

Golden Boy is promoting a May 9 welterweight bout between Canelo Alvarez and James Kirkland at Minute Maid Park in Houston.