Thursday, February 02, 2023  |


Oscar De La Hoya remains a fighter during Golden Boy transition

Oscar De La Hoya has taken firm command of Golden Boy Promotions since the departure of CEO Richard Schaefer and being inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame this past summer. Photo by Alex Menendez / Hoganphotos-Golden Boy Promotions

Oscar De La Hoya has taken firm command of Golden Boy Promotions since the departure of CEO Richard Schaefer and being inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame this past summer. Photo by Alex Menendez / Hoganphotos-Golden Boy Promotions

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Oscar De La Hoya knows about the heavy doubts that surrounded him. He heard the hovering speculation that his promotional company would implode once CEO Richard Schaefer resigned in early-June.

It was believed by many in the boxing industry that Schaefer built Golden Boy Promotions into one of the two major promotional firms in the world, along with Bob Arum’s Top Rank. However, De La Hoya wants it to be known that it was more than Schaefer.

“Richard didn’t make the company; there’s not one person that I can say (that) made the company,” De La Hoya told during a one-on-one interview after the kick-off Bernard Hopkins-Sergey Kovalev press conference. “I can’t say I made the company. I started it, but like I said, Rome wasn’t built by Caesar alone. It takes an army and we have a pretty strong army. It’s a lot stronger than some people gave us credit for. The other thing is Golden Boy Promotions is not run by one person alone, and it never has been.

“I was down; things were down for me personally. Everything that happened was a perfect reminder of the 10 world titles I won, the Olympic gold medal I won, and it all reminded me that I’m still a fighter. I’m a person that will not give up. I’m a person that is all about perseverance. This, what happened here with Golden Boy, is a perfect example of being down and rising to victory. It is an inspirational story that I will be able to tell to my kids, that I have told my kids; I’m actually really proud of it.”

De La Hoya said he was firmly aware of what was happening around him when Schaefer opted to leave. “The Golden Boy” couldn’t get into any specific details because of pending litigation between Golden Boy and Schaefer. But De La Hoya has surprised a few people in the boxing industry by remaining relevant. He may have even have surprised himself.

Schaefer, according to some close to the situation, didn’t think De La Hoya’s Golden Boy could survive without him. Schaefer allegedly approached De La Hoya when he was in rehab about selling the company. It looked as if De La Hoya was on board, until he took a closer look at the deal. De La Hoya felt betrayed, angry and disrespected.

“Oscar wasn’t perceived as being smart enough to realize what was happening,” said one source close to the matter. “That he was just a ‘figure head’ and couldn’t run a company. I think Schaefer really underestimated him. That’s how I’ll leave it. Oscar is a lot smarter and stronger than people think.”

When this is repeated back to Oscar, he smirks. He’s heard it before, back to his fighting days. A fighter with such a “pretty face” wasn’t supposed to be so tough. De La Hoya has a history of disproving the naysayers.

And Golden Boy appears stronger than ever. It’s thriving. Perhaps because De La Hoya is thriving. He’s battled his demons outside of boxing and he won.

“I think I found that I am stronger than I think I even gave myself credit for,” Oscar said. “Remember, boxing people have a tendency to think that you’re only as good as your last fight. I know people were writing me off, because I was in a bad place, I really was. I let myself down, more importantly, I let my family down; that bad place took me to a whole new level emotionally, physically, spiritually.

“I think I did find out I was stronger than I thought. It’s a life lesson that’s made me better, made things better for my family and I think better for my company and my colleagues. We’re going to places now that I could only have dreamt of years ago. I know I can accomplish things that I was only dreaming of years ago. I know I’m supposed to be a ‘figure head,’ but you know, I always thought I was the boss, because it’s my company. But the question is, obviously people didn’t think that I was the boss within my organization.”

De La Hoya’s celebrity has brought many in and out of his life. He’s the one that brought Schaefer into boxing. Once considered a friend, De La Hoya was asked if parting with the former Swiss banker was cutting.

“It’s not personal to me, we helped each other out; I brought him into the boxing world and we did some good things together, but I’ve been down this road before,” De La Hoya said. “I can honestly say it didn’t hurt me. It did teach me another life lesson, though. Just beware of the people around you sometimes. I can tell you that what happened did bother the people around me. I can say that.

“People within my close circle were, and are, still really bothered. It didn’t hurt me as much, though. I’ve always known who my friends are and I’ve known that since I was 5 years old. Guys like Eric Gomez. I know he would die for me, like I would for him. We’re more like brothers than friends. When I was down, I mean really down, I really found out who my friends are.”