The Oscar De La Hoya timeline
Oscar De La Hoya is born in Los Angeles on Feb. 4.
Begins learning the fundamentals of boxing from his father, Joel Sr., a native of Durango, Mexico, who had some professional boxing experience in the 1960s, and his older brother Joel Jr., who was already competing in amateur boxing matches.
Has his first boxing match at age 6.
Begins training at the Resurrection Boys Club gym in East L.A.
Loses a three-round junior amateur bout to fellow boxing prodigy Shane Mosley.
Begins training with Al “Stankie” Stankiewicz, a former LAPD officer and prize fighter who guided East L.A. native Paul Gonzales to a gold medal in the 1984 Olympics.
Wins national Junior Olympics title in the 119-pound division at age 15.
Wins L.A. City, California State, and National Golden Gloves titles in the 119-pound division.
Wins both the national Golden Gloves and the U.S. amateur championship titles in the 125-pound division. Also takes gold at the second Goodwill Games (which brought together top international competition) in Seattle, Wash., beating Ivan Robinson in the 125-pound division finals. He was only 17.
His mother, Cecilia, dies of breast cancer at the age of 39 in October.
Wins U.S. amateur championships in the 132-pound division; named ‘Boxer of the Year’ by USA Boxing (the amateur boxing authority in the United States).
Joel De La Hoya Sr. replaces Stankiewicz with Robert Alcazar, a friend of his from work with limited boxing training experience, as his son’s head coach. Stankiewicz’s problems with alcohol is stated as the reason for the change in trainers.
Takes silver at the world amateur championships in Sydney, Australia, losing to Germany’s Marco Rudolph in the finals of the 132-pound division. Rudolph is the last boxer to beat De La Hoya in the amateurs.
Wins Olympic trials to represent the U.S. in the Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain in the 132-pound division.
Wins the Olympic title by beating Marco Rudolph (7-2) in the finals, avenging his last amateur loss and fulfilling his dying mother’s wish. De La Hoya, the only boxer from the U.S. to win a gold medal at the Barcelona Games, and the story of his mother instantly resonates with viewers watching the Olympics on NBC.
De La Hoya ends his amateur career with a stellar 223-5 record that includes 153 victories by way of referee stoppage.
Signs a record-breaking managerial contract with Robert Mittleman and Steve Nelson worth $1 million. De La Hoya reportedly receives $500,000 (in cash), a new car, a van and half of the cost of a four-bedroom family home in Montebello, Calif.
Signing with Mittleman, a New York-area booking agent, and Nelson, a relatively inexperienced manager, was a surprise to many in the boxing industry who had assumed De La Hoya would sign with high-profile manager Shelly Finkel, who had courted him since 1990 and had bought him a car and helped pay for his mother’s funeral.
Had De La Hoya signed with Finkel he would have likely gone to New Jersey-based promotional company Main Events, which had promoted most of Finkel’s standout fighters that were signed out of the 1984 Olympics (including Evander Holyfield and Pernell Whitaker), however he wound up signing with Top Rank, which had recently moved from New York City to Las Vegas in order to cater to the emerging Hispanic market. Top Rank’s president, Bob Arum, has very high hopes for De La Hoya.
Turns pro on November 23 in front of 6,185 fans at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, Calif., knocking out Lamar Williams (5-1-1 at the time) at 1:42 of the first round. He was paid $200,000 for 102 seconds of work.
Defeats his first former world titleholder on June 7, stopping former IBF featherweight beltholder Troy Dorsey (13-7-4 at the time) on cuts at the end of the first round of their scheduled 10 rounder in Las Vegas.
Splits with Mittleman and Nelson and brings in East L.A.-based car dealer Mike Hernandez as his “business manager” in December.
Wins his first major world title, the WBO 130-pound belt, by knocking out Jimmy Bredahl (16-0 at the time) in the 10th round of their scheduled 12 rounder on March 5. It was De La Hoya’s 12th pro bout and it took place at the historic Grand Olympic Auditorium in downtown L.A., where both his father and grandfather had fought.
Wins second major world title, the vacant WBO lightweight belt, by knocking out former featherweight titleholder Jorge Paez (53-6-4 at the time) in the second round of their July 29 bout at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Brings respected Mexican trainer Jesus Rivero out of retirement to replace Alcazar as head coach after struggling to a 12-round decision over former 130-pound titleholder John Molina in February. Rivero had trained hall of fame former flyweight champ Miguel Canto, among others, and was renown for his boxing strategy and teaching defense. Alcazar remained as an assistant trainer.
Wins third major world title when he lifted the IBF lightweight belt from Rafael Ruelas (43-1 at the time) via brutal second-round knockout at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on May 6.
Wins THE RING magazine’s Fighter of the Year award for outpointing Molina (36-3 at the time) and stopping Ruelas, 130-pound titleholder Genaro Hernandez (32-0-1 at the time) and former 130-pound beltholder James Leija (30-1-2 at the time).
Establishes Oscar de la Hoya Foundation to help fund programs to bring a better quality of life to the people of East Los Angeles.
Wins fourth major world title (in a third weight class) by scoring a technical knockout of Julio Cesar Chavez (96-1-1 at the time), taking the Mexican idol’s WBC 140-pound title in front of 15,000 mostly pro-Chavez fans in an outdoor arena setup at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on June 7.
In a bold protest to rampant analog cable piracy of the time, Arum opted not to offer Chavez-De La Hoya live on pay-per-view and instead went with closed circuit theaters across the U.S. The outdated mode of watching a live prize fight did brisk business on the West Coast and the Southwest but did not sell well east of the Mississippi.
Wins fifth major world title (in a fourth weight class) by outpointing Pernell Whitaker (40-1-1 at the time) and lifting the former four-division champ’s WBC welterweight title via unanimous decision at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas on April 12.
Ringside media was split over who won the competitive fight that De La Hoya took with official scores of 115-111 and 116-111 (twice). Most of the East Coast press, which included many veteran newspaper columnists, believed Whitaker deserved to win the decision. Arum, who had developed a contentious relationship with the “old guard”, claimed that was because most of them had bet on Whitaker.
Nevertheless, the victory elevates De La Hoya to THE RING’s No. 1 pound-for-pound spot.
De La Hoya, who was criticized for not fighting more aggressively against an older, smaller, and lighter-punching foe, replaces Rivero with Emanuel Steward as his head coach in May. Steward, who had been inducted to the International Boxing Hall of Fame the previous year, was thought to excel at teaching an offense-minded style of boxing.
Begins dating Shanna Moakler, 1995’s Miss USA and a burgeoning TV actress at the time, in October.
Buys the Resurrection gym where he used to train for $500,000, and renames it the Oscar De La Hoya Youth Boxing Center, adding after-school tutoring services to the boxing program.
Wins THE RING magazine’s Fighter of the Year award for outpointing Miguel Angel Gonzalez (41-0 at the time), Whitaker, and Hector Camacho (63-3-1 at the time), and for knocking out David Kamau (28-1 at the time) and Wilfredo Rivera (27-2-1 at the time).
Fires Steward as his chief trainer in November (two months after the Camacho fight) and promotes Alcazar back to the head coach role but also brings in veteran Gil Clancy to help with fight strategy. De La Hoya said he was happy with Steward but his father made the decision to dismiss the hall of famer.
(The press at the time speculated that Steward was let go because it was believed that he might be steering De La Hoya toward Arum’s rival promoter Don King. Steward broke the camp for Rivera for a few days to take De La Hoya to the Evander Holyfield-Michael Moorer rematch in Las Vegas. The fight was promoted by King.)
Defends WBC welterweight title against Patrick Charpentier (27-4-1 at the time) in El Paso, Texas on June 13 before more than 45,000 people in the Sun Bowl, knocking the undeserving French challenger out in the third round.
Takes on unbeaten (34-0-1 at the time) Ike Quartey and beats the powerful Ghanaian via split decision after trading knockdowns in the sixth round and scoring a dramatic knockdown in the 12th. Quartey was the reigning WBA welterweight titleholder but was stripped of his belt before the showdown, which took place at the Thomas & Mack Arena in Las Vegas on February 13.
Moakler gives birth to Atiana Cecilia De La Hoya in Los Angeles on March 29.
De La Hoya fires Hernandez as his business manager and financial adviser in June.
Takes on undefeated (35-0 at the time) IBF welterweight titleholder Felix Trinidad at the new Mandalay Bay resort & casino in Las Vegas on September 18 in what is billed as the ‘Fight of the Millennium’. After befuddling the dynamic-punching Puerto Rican with his footwork and speedy combinations over the first two-thirds of the fight De La Hoya not only took his foot off the gas pedal late in the bout, he went into reverse gear in the final two rounds giving the official judges cause to score enough rounds for Trinidad to win the fight via razor-thin majority decision (115-113, 115-114 and 114-114).
Most observers and a slight majority of press row had De La Hoya winning the fight, which was a disappointment in terms of action but a record-breaking success in terms of money generated. The bout broke the pay-per-view record for a non-heavyweight event, garnering 1.4 million buys that equaled $71.4 million.
With his earning from the bout, De La Hoya, only 26, surpassed $100 million in career purse money.
His charitable foundation contributes $350,000 to White Memorial Medical Center's cancer center, named in her honor of his mother, in April. The hospital is located in the Boyle Heights section of Los Angeles and serves the East L.A. community. De La Hoya's gift helps the facility to expand outreach, education and screening programs.
Loses a split decision to undefeated (34-0 at the time) Shane Mosley in a spirited WBC welterweight title bout that packed Staples Center in L.A. on June 17. It was the inaugural boxing main event for the 20,000-seat arena.
Releases his first album, entitled “Oscar De La Hoya” in both English and Spanish, on the EMI/Latin label the same month of the Mosley fight. It did well on Latin dance charts and a single “Ven a Mi” was nominated for a Grammy Award (it didn’t win).
Seen with Puerto Rican singer pop star Millie Corretjer at the Latin Grammy Awards in September.
Takes Arum to U.S. district court to get out of promotional contract in November.
Moakler files a $62.5 million palimony suit in December.
Wins lawsuit against Arum, brings in Jerry Perenchio, chairman and CEO of Univision network, as his new promoter.
Alcazar retires and is replaced by Floyd Mayweather Sr.
Wins his sixth major world title (in a fifth weight class) by outpointing Javier Castillejo and taking the tough Spaniard’s WBC 154-pound title at the MGM Grand on June 23. It is his second bout under Perenchio’s promotional banner.
Marries Corretjer in a secret wedding ceremony in San Juan, Puerto Rico on October 5.
Begins working with friend and advisor Richard Schaefer, a former banker he met in the mid-1990s, to help deal with mounting financial, legal and professional concerns.
Schaefer helps De La Hoya restructure his career and life and the two agree to go into business together, forming Golden Boy Management and signing 2000 U.S. Olympian Jose Navarro.
Perenchio resigns as his promoter in November, citing increased commitments at Univision Communications. De La Hoya reconciles with Arum in the same month.
Takes on Fernando Vargas (22-1 at the time) at the Mandalay Bay on September 14 and scores a dramatic knockout of his Southern California rival in the 11th round of their heated grudge match, adding the WBA’s 154-pound strap (his seventh major world title) to his WBC belt which earns him THE RING’s recognition as the junior middleweight champion of the world.
The prestigious RING belt is his eighth major world title in his 10-year pro career.
Establishes the Oscar de la Hoya Animo Charter High School, which serves underprivileged students from the East L.A. area in grades nine through twelve and is soon ranked among the top 10 percent of schools in the state of California that serve similar communities.
Loses world junior middleweight title to Mosley via close but controversial unanimous decision in their rematch that took place at the MGM Grand on September 13.
A distraught De La Hoya vows to use all of his resources in an investigation of the officials who unanimously scored the bout 115-113 for Mosley. Arum is so disgusted he says he might quit promoting. HBO commentator George Forman claims on air that the scoring of the bout was a conspiracy against Arum. However, the majority of the ringside media agreed with the bout’s outcome.
De La Hoya and Schaefer dissolve Golden Boy Management and form Golden Boy Promotions in December, believing that they can have a bigger impact on the sport as promoters.
Wins ninth major world title (in a sixth weight class) by narrowly outpointing undefeated (20-0 at the time) but unheralded Felix Sturm at the MGM Grand on June 5. The controversial unanimous decision via unanimous scores of 115-113 earned a clearly under-prepared De La Hoya the WBO middleweight title.
Challenges world middleweight champ Bernard Hopkins (44-2-1 at the time) and is knocked out by a body shot in the ninth round of the mega-event that took place at the MGM Grand on September 18.
Splits with Arum for the final time and signs Hopkins to his fledgling promotional company before the year is out.
First child with Corretjer, Oscar Gabriel, is born in San Juan on December 29.
Returns to the ring and knocks out Ricardo Mayorga (27-5-1 at the time) in the sixth round of their junior middleweight bout at the MGM Grand on May 6. The one-sided drubbing earns him his 10th major world title, the regained WBC 154-pound belt.
Forms a real estate venture called Golden Boy Partners, which builds retail, commercial, and residential developments in urban Latino communities.
Accepts the challenge of Floyd Mayweather Jr., the undefeated (37-0 at the time) world welterweight champ recognized as the best boxer in the world, pound for pound, and, with Freddie Roach in his corner in place of Mayweather Sr., loses a split decision in front of a sellout crowd at the MGM Grand on May 5.
The relatively uneventful fight is arguably the biggest boxing event of the decade, garnering a record gate of $19 million and smashing the all-time pay-per-view record by drawing 2.15 million buys that equals $120 million.
Corretjer gives birth to their second child, Nina Lauren Nenitte De La Hoya, in San Juan on December 29 (Oscar Gabriel’s second birthday).
After a proposed rematch with Mayweather is dashed when the mercurial champ retired unexpectedly, De La Hoya decides to fight Manny Pacquiao, a lightweight titleholder and new pound-for-pound king, in a 147-pound catch weight bout that is met with skepticism by much of the media but embraced as a curiosity by the fans.
After replacing Mayweather Sr. (who replaced Roach in his previous bout against Steve Forbes) with respected trainer Nacho Beristain and bringing in legendary Angelo Dundee to help oversee what is reportedly an “excellent camp”, De La Hoya showed up to the December 6 mega event that took place at the MGM Grand looking weight-drained and boxing sluggish. He was brutally outclassed and trounced by Pacquiao until his corner kept him on his stool after the eighth round.
Announces his retirement at a press conference in Los Angeles on April 14.
Doug Fischer can be reached at [email protected]