Episode 10: Oscar De La Hoya


“In life, you get knocked down just like a fight,” an enthusiastic Oscar De La Hoya exclaimed. “You have to get right back up and raise your hand in victory.” Throughout his career as a world champion boxer, Oscar raised his hand in victory many times. In case you haven’t been paying attention to boxing for the last four decades, Oscar De La Hoya is it—boxing’s Golden Boy, himself.

We caught up with Oscar on a warm day in February, just after he finished a round of golf with a few friends. Greeting us with his disarming, Golden Boy smile, Oscar De La Hoya sat down, ready to not just talk about his legendary career, but what’s come after.

“All my life I’ve been fighting,” he explained to us from the living room of the Palm Springs home that he and his family rented for the weekend. “Fighting for my family, fighting for what I believe in. [So, I thought to myself] why don’t I take advantage of this vehicle I have and start my own company and become a promoter?”

And just like that, in 2002, Golden Boy Promotions was launched. It’s why Oscar and his family are in Palm Springs for the weekend—the Albert Machado v. Andrew Cancio fight at the Fantasy Springs Casino, promoted by Golden Boy Promotions.

Often boxers don’t know what direction life will take after their time in the ring. They know that with age, and the wear and tear on their bodies, it can’t last forever. But then what? De La Hoya, now 46, has led by example, befriending a new wave of young boxers, giving them hope for the future, yes, but also giving them a promoter they can trust—a promoter that knows the sport inside and out

“In the history of the sport, there’s never been a promoter who has laced up the gloves,” Oscar says, a faint hint of well-earned pride behind his words. “We’re a company that’s from a fighter, for a fighter.”

And what a fighter he was. Born and raised in East Los Angeles by a boxing family, Oscar De La Hoya literally fought his way to the top. From his first knockout fight when he was six to an Olympic Gold medal and a 39-6 professional record, De La Hoya learned to, quite literally, roll with the punches to seize success.

From legendary showdowns with fighters like Julio Caesar Chavez and boxing’s bad boy Fernando Vargas, Oscar pushed through with everything he had to claim victory. Even when De La Hoya suffered his devastating 1999 loss to Felix Trinidad, or when he tragically lost his mother to breast cancer before the 1992 Olympics, Oscar channeled his emotions into the next fight, into bringing home the gold in memory of his mom.

“In life, if you get knocked down, you have ten seconds to get back up,” Oscar emphasized with his signature passion. “Boxings not a game. You’re not playing around. So, boxing and life for me have always been connected. Connected in a way that I’ve used it to motivate others, to motivate myself.”

Today, Oscar uses his experience to motivate the boxers he promotes through Golden Boy promotions. When he isn’t working, he’s golfing with friends, hitting the gym, or more likely, spending time with his family and his five kids. In a word, the enthusiastic boxer is now an enthusiastic family man.

“Everything that’s happened to me in my career, inside and outside the ring, I would not change for nothing,” Oscar said with sincerity. “I could have been a person that could have easily gone over the cliff, but I decided to make it.”

And now, Oscar De La Hoya is helping other boxers make it too.