De La Hoya headlines 2014 class of boxing Hall of Fame
”The Golden Boy” is golden again.
Oscar De La Hoya, who won Olympic gold and became a champion in six weight divisions in winning 10 world titles, has been selected for induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
”I am honored and appreciative to be chosen, and I thank everyone who has been a part of this journey with me,” De La Hoya said in a statement released by the Hall of Fame. ”This is the dream of everyone who puts on a pair of gloves and steps between the ropes and through the good and the bad. You always hope that when all is said and done you put on good fights, entertained the fans, and will be remembered for what you did in the ring.
”To know that I will be in the Hall of Fame with the greats of this sport is humbling, but it’s also put a smile on my face that isn’t coming off anytime soon.”
De La Hoya headlined the class of 2014 announced on Wednesday, and two of his contemporaries in the modern era – Felix ”Tito” Trinidad of Puerto Rico and Joe Calzaghe of Wales – will join him on June 8 at the induction ceremony in Canastota.
Joining the hard-punching trio are George Chaney, Charles Ledoux and Mike O’Dowd in the old-timer category, while Tom Allen is the lone honoree in the pioneer category. The Hall of Fame’s 25th class also includes promoter Barry Hearn, referees Richard Steele and Eugene Corri, journalist Graham Houston and veteran 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 had an amateur record of 223-5 with 153 knockouts and won the lightweight gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. 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.
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 and became one of Puerto Rico’s 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,” said Trinidad, who retired in 2009 with a record of 42-3 with 35 knockouts. ”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.
”I’m so excited,” Calzaghe said. ”I’m very proud and humbled. I think it’s amazing. This is a massive, massive honor, just fantastic.”