CANASTOTA, N.Y. (AP) — Capping a career that included 10 titles in six weight divisions, an Olympic gold medal and 10 world titles, the Golden Boy found a permanent home.
Oscar De La Hoya was inducted Sunday into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
“Today marks an incredible personal achievement,” said De La Hoya, who had an amateur record of 223-5 with 153 knockouts. “But it is only the latest milestone that never would have been possible without my family, my friends and, most of all, my fans.”
The Hall of Fame’s 25th class also included two of De La Hoya’s contemporaries in the modern era — Puerto Rican star Felix “Tito” Trinidad and Joe Calzaghe of Wales.
Also inducted were: George Chaney, Charles Ledoux and Mike O’Dowd in the old-timer category; Tom Allen in the pioneer category; and promoter Barry Hearn, referees Richard Steele and Eugene Corri, journalist Graham Houston; and Sports Illustrated photographer Neil Leifer in the non-participant and observer categories.
Inductees were selected by the Boxing Writers Association and a panel of international boxing historians.
De La Hoya won the lightweight gold medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. He turned pro later that year and captured his first world title, the WBO super-featherweight crown, in only his 12th bout.
De La Hoya also won titles as a lightweight, light welterweight, welterweight, light middleweight and middleweight. His 2007 bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. was one of the richest in boxing history, attracting nearly 2.5 million pay-per-view fans. He retired after a 2008 loss to Manny Pacquiao with a professional record of 39-6 with 30 knockouts and in 2002 established Golden Boy Promotions.
De La Hoya touched on numerous topics during his speech, including the future of the sport.
“We must put aside the egos that have damaged our brand and sullied our reputation,” he said. “We, the promoters, must stop carrying petty grudges that serve no purpose but to divide our sport. And most important, we must give the fans the fights that they want.”
The fame hasn’t come without some of the bad. De La Hoya admitted himself to a treatment facility in September as he continues to fight substance abuse. The move came on the eve of the biggest fight of the year for his promotion company between Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez. De La Hoya first admitted two years ago that he was an alcoholic and drug user and had been in treatment.
Trained by his father, Trinidad began boxing at age 10 in his native Puerto Rico and became one of its most accomplished fighters, posting a 51-6 amateur record before turning pro. He stopped Maurice Blocker in two rounds to capture the IBF welterweight crown in his 20th pro bout and defended his title 15 times, one of those a controversial 12-round majority decision over De La Hoya.
Trinidad moved up in weight to win the WBA light middleweight title from David Reid in March 2000 and later that year unified titles with a 12th-round knockout against IBF champ Fernando Vargas. In 2001, he became a three-division champion with a fifth-round knockout of William Joppy for the WBA middleweight title.
The three-time world champ was a fan favorite because of his big-punching style and devastating left hook.
“This is a great honor for me, my father, my family and my whole team,” Trinidad, who retired in 2009 with a record of 42-3 with 35 knockouts, said in December when he learned of his selection. “This is the biggest triumph of my career.”
Calzaghe was the Rocky Marciano of his division — nobody beat him in 46 professional bouts, which included a division-record 21 defenses of his super middleweight title.
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(Photo Source: AP)