De La Hoya blog: Search for next superstar
Oscar De La Hoya believes the next boxing superstar will come out of the Olympics. Photo / Chris Cozzone-FightWireImages.com
Want to get inside Oscar De La Hoya’s mind? This is your chance. Beginning today, the Olympic gold medalist, future Hall of Famer and President of Golden Boy Promotions will write a weekly blog for RingTV.com, with a link from Yahoo! Sports. In his first blog entry, he talks about “Fight Night Club,” the new series designed to showcase young fighters from Southern California, and the search for boxing’s next superstar.
I’m convinced that the next star of boxing will come out of the Olympic Games because of the worldwide platform it gives the fighters. That’s the best way to build momentum, the best way to attract casual sports fans. It will be very difficult to find the next star but I’m optimistic it will happen soon.
I know U.S. amateur boxing has had its problems so I’ve started to get involved with the amateur program, with USA Boxing. We were contacted by [Olympics icon] Peter Ueberroth, who wanted our input and thoughts. He believes I can help because of my experience in the amateur program.
One way to help do that is to allow our amateur fighters to have their own trainers in their corners, the trainers who have been there since they were kids [as opposed to Olympic coaches]. That would be one of many steps we could take in the coming years.
USA Boxing has a long way to go but I’m not counting them out, that’s for sure. We’ve had our worst moments. The idea is to put that behind us and move on. I think we can turn this around. And we’re thrilled that we can play a role in the process, that USA Boxing has opened its doors to listen to us.
We’ll also be more involved in recruiting amateur fighters in the years to come. We’re a very young company. As we build our staff, we’ll definitely be following standouts through the amateur program, the tournaments, the ranking systems, to indentify the very best. That’s the way you create superstars. If you can win a medal in the Games, then you have something special to start with.
Of course, it will take more than that to build a true star. Yes, he has to be a fighter; he has to have the goods and a pleasing style up in the ring. He also must have a good story, a story America can fall in love with and identify with, a story that touches people’s hearts. People have to be talking about you. I know that from experience; I had that when I was in the Olympics. That’s part of the reason I made it to the big stage.
We also believe we will build future stars through “Fight Night Club,” our monthly series at Club Nokia in L.A. The first thoughts I had about this idea centered around (promoter) Don Chargin, who had weekly cards at the Olympic Auditorium in L.A. They called him “War a Week” Chargin. I don’t know if we could do weekly shows – I don’t know how Don did it – but I want to do shows twice a month.
The idea was to look for the best young fighters in Southern California and build champions locally. We still have a very strong fan base here. We want to bring that Olympic Auditorium excitement back. We had our first show; now comes our second on Thursday. People are talking about it; there’s a buzz about it. The fighters are excited to be on the card. I think we have something good going here.
We wanted to make the cards fun, exciting. We’re not matching our fighters with easy opponents, either. We want to test them, to see what they have, to make competitive fights. I’m telling you: These guys are going to be at risk every time they step up in the ring. That’s why people are excited about “Fight Night Club.”
And I think we’ll realize our goal. We have a lot of talented fighters in this region who also have good stories. If a fighter can really fight and if he has a compelling story to tell, then you’re one step ahead of the game even if you don’t go to the Olympics.
The idea is to have people fall in love with you. That’s what you want to ultimately create.