Patrick Reusse: Family made De La Hoya golden

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 7, 2012 - 12:15 AM

Before he became one of the biggest names in boxing, Oscar De La Hoya was a teen out of East L.A. surrounded by his supportive relatives.

Oscar De La Hoya dedicated his quest for a gold medal in boxing in the 1992 Olympics to his mother, Cecilia, who died of cancer two years earlier.

Photo: Mark Duncan, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Three of the De La Hoya brothers owned houses on two lots in East Los Angeles. Raul and Vicente had houses side by side on the street. Joel's house was located directly behind Vicente's, and the families shared a driveway.

Eduardo was the independent brother. He lived in a house three blocks from the De La Hoyas' main compound.

The family had better reasons for congregating in this neighborhood, but for a visiting reporter from Minnesota this location was perfect: There was a King Taco on a busy street a couple of blocks away.

Believe me. Next time you're in East L.A., check out King Taco.

This was the late spring of 1992 and Joel's 19-year-old son, Oscar, was getting ready for his final push to be the 132-pounder on the U.S. Olympic boxing team. First, there would be the Olympic trials, and then the Olympic boxoff between the trials winner and the "most worthy opponent."

Oscar was sitting in the family living room one afternoon, between workouts, and was asked about living in the midst of all these De La Hoyas. He had that infectious smile, then as now, and showed it as he said:

"One of my strengths is family power. There are many fighters who have no family help. When I fight, there are uncles, aunts, cousins cheering for me. If I ever need help -- a ride to the gym or something -- there are so many people in my family for me."

By the spring of '92, Oscar was not much in need of rides to the gym, since he recently had become the owner of a black, low-slung Nissan 300ZX. Clearly, there was an expectation of revenue opportunities in Oscar's future, and the young man was able to secure reasonable payments for his new ride.

De La Hoya had his choice of several gyms within a few miles. One was the Brooklyn Boxing Gym in the Boyle Heights section of L.A. The gym was in a converted auto-repair garage.

Enrique Bolanos, a fighter from the 1940s, was a constant presence at the gym. He loved to show clippings and tell his stories of long-ago battles to the young fighters that came to the gym.

Oscar had heard these stories frequently, yet he greeted the old fighter and chatted for a few minutes. Later, Bolanos would say: "I have known Oscar's father for many years. It is a very good family. Oscar will be a world champion. Very good hands."

De La Hoya was about to show those hands in a workout with Robert Alcazar, a trainer chosen by his father. Al Stankie had been the trainer when a 17-year-old Oscar won a gold medal at the Goodwill Games in 1990.

Stankie ran into financial and other problems, and Joel didn't want those to become a controversy surrounding Oscar.

The De La Hoya-Alcazar workout was impressive, with Oscar firing lightning combinations and the trainer deflecting them with his flat catcher's mitts.

A day later, the De La Hoya delegation headed to Resurrection Gym in the middle of the East L.A. barrio. A new Resurrection Catholic Church had been built, with the old church converted to a boxing gym.

There were dozens of Mexican lads punching bags, jumping ropes and listening to instructions from a cadre of coaches. There were civilians crowding into the gym after word spread that Shane Mosley was making the trip from Pomona for a five rounds of sparring with De La Hoya.

Mosley, the best amateur 139-pounder in the country, would get upset in an Olympic trials quarterfinal and miss out on competing in the Barcelona Olympics.

De La Hoya would win the Olympic trials, defeat Patrice Brooks in the boxoff and head to Barcelona as one of the best U.S. hopes to get a boxing gold medal.

Oscar had dedicated this crusade to his mother, Cecilia, who had died from cancer two years earlier.

"I did not know she was so sick," De La Hoya said. "Our parents decided not to tell us until after the Goodwill Games [in Seattle]. I was so close to my mother. I'm still not over her death. She wanted me to win the Olympic gold medal. Before she died, I told her I was going to do that.

"For her."

De La Hoya succeeded. In Barcelona, he went through the Olympic field and defeated Germany's Marco Rudolph 7-2 on scoring punches in the gold medal bout.

Oscar turned pro after the Olympics and became the "Golden Boy." His 39-6 career record in 16 years as a professional included two losses to Shane Mosley.

He started Golden Boy Enterprises and has turned Golden Boy Promotions into a powerhouse. He has endured several controversies.

There was none of that two decades ago, when Oscar De La Hoya was home in East L.A., getting ready to write a great American story:

A good kid from a good family winning the Olympic gold medal in honor of his deceased and beloved mother.

Patrick Reusse can be heard noon-4 weekdays on 1500-AM. • preusse@startribune.com

  • related content

  • Chart: De La Hoya's golden belts

    Friday July 6, 2012

    Oscar De La Hoya won nine WBO, WBC, WBA and/or IBA world titles in the ring during his 16-year pro boxing career.

  • REMEMBERING 1992

    For three Saturdays in a row, columnist Patrick Reusse is looking back at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

    Last week: The Dream Team

    Today: Boxer Oscar De La Hoya

    Next week: Wrestler Dennis Koslowski

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Philadelphia 24 FINAL
Washington 27
San Diego 38 FINAL
San Francisco 35
Minnesota 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 2:30 PM
Toronto
Memphis 3:30 PM
Cleveland
Boston 5:00 PM
Miami
Detroit 5:00 PM
Brooklyn
LA Lakers 5:00 PM
Sacramento
Philadelphia 5:00 PM
Orlando
Phoenix 5:00 PM
Washington
Indiana 6:00 PM
Minnesota
New Orleans 6:00 PM
Oklahoma City
Colorado 5:00 PM
Detroit
Dallas 5:00 PM
Edmonton
Buffalo 6:00 PM
Boston
Carolina 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Toronto 6:00 PM
Chicago
Philadelphia 8:00 PM
Winnipeg
Harvard 11:00 AM
Virginia
Maine 12:00 PM
Army
Ferris State 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
San Francisco 12:00 PM
Cleveland State
Oregon State 12:00 PM
Quinnipiac
Coastal Carolina 12:30 PM
Central Arkansas
Holy Cross 1:00 PM
Canisius
Southern Miss 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Western Carolina 1:00 PM
UNC-Asheville
Creighton 1:00 PM
North Texas
Maryland 1:00 PM
Oklahoma State
Cornell 1:00 PM
Radford
Vermont 1:00 PM
Saint Louis
Loyola-Maryland 1:00 PM
Stony Brook
Reinhardt 1:00 PM
Winthrop
Ark-Little Rock 1:00 PM
Green Bay
TX-Pan American 1:00 PM
Nebraska Omaha
Alabama State 1:05 PM
Evansville
FIU 1:30 PM
Hartford
Goshen 1:35 PM
Valparaiso
Bryant 2:00 PM
Denver
Austin Peay 2:00 PM
Lipscomb
Tennessee St 2:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
South Dakota 2:00 PM
Montana
ULM 2:00 PM
Samford
Coker 2:30 PM
South Carolina
USC 3:00 PM
Boston College
Northern Ariz 3:00 PM
Hampton
SD Christian 3:00 PM
San Diego
UC Irvine 3:30 PM
Bradley
Troy 3:30 PM
Nicholls
Seton Hall 5:00 PM
Georgia
Appalachian St 5:30 PM
Alabama
North Dakota St 6:00 PM
Kent State
San Jose St 6:00 PM
Washington St
Alcorn State 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Sacramento St 9:00 PM
Seattle
Nevada 3 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 21 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 6
(23) Utah 45 FINAL
Colorado State 10
Western Mich 24 FINAL
Air Force 38
South Alabama 28 FINAL
Bowling Green 33
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Cal-Irvine 11:00 AM
Denver
St Marys-CA 11:00 AM
George Washington
TX-San Antonio 11:00 AM
Nicholls
Portland State 11:00 AM
Columbia
Tenn Tech 11:00 AM
Morgan State
SMU 11:00 AM
Auburn
Quinnipiac 11:00 AM
Hartford
Hofstra 11:00 AM
Boston College
Eastern Washington 11:00 AM
Georgia Southern
Rhode Island 12:00 PM
Bryant
Liberty 12:00 PM
(1) South Carolina
Fairleigh Dickinson 12:00 PM
Brown
Buffalo 12:00 PM
Long Island
Bucknell 12:00 PM
Mount St Marys
Stony Brook 12:00 PM
Wagner
FIU 12:00 PM
Wofford
Duquesne 12:00 PM
Providence
Maine 12:00 PM
William & Mary
Alabama State 12:00 PM
Samford
TX-Pan American 12:00 PM
VA Commonwealth
South Dakota St 12:00 PM
Marist
Saint Josephs 12:00 PM
(5) Notre Dame
Radford 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
(3) Texas 12:30 PM
(4) Texas A&M
South Florida 1:00 PM
Penn State
Sam Houston St 1:00 PM
TCU
Evansville 1:00 PM
IUPUI
(14) Maryland 1:00 PM
Coppin State
Mercer 1:00 PM
Coll of Charleston
NC A&T 1:00 PM
Chattanooga
Princeton 1:00 PM
Monmouth
Eastern Illinois 1:00 PM
Lehigh
Rider 1:00 PM
Binghamton
SC State 1:00 PM
Clemson
Fairfield 1:00 PM
Iowa State
Richmond 1:00 PM
Eastern Kentucky
Cleveland State 1:00 PM
Morehead St
Kent State 1:00 PM
Colgate
South Alabama 1:00 PM
UAB
Saint Peters 1:00 PM
Navy
Youngstown St 1:00 PM
Pittsburgh
NJIT 1:00 PM
Lafayette
Davidson 1:00 PM
Charlotte
Indiana State 1:30 PM
St Johns
Southern U 1:30 PM
Florida
Wright State 1:30 PM
Purdue
(19) Oklahoma St 2:00 PM
USC
Houston 2:00 PM
Texas Tech
Ark-Little Rock 2:00 PM
Tulsa
Dayton 2:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Northern Ariz 2:00 PM
New Mexico
UNC-Asheville 2:00 PM
USC Upstate
North Dakota 2:00 PM
South Dakota
Western Ill 2:00 PM
Marquette
Elon 2:00 PM
(6) North Carolina
Ball State 2:00 PM
Western Ky
(8) Kentucky 2:00 PM
(13) Duke
New Orleans 2:00 PM
Alabama
Chicago State 2:00 PM
Milwaukee
Bowling Green 2:00 PM
Bradley
Ill-Springfield 2:00 PM
SE Missouri St
Northern Ill 2:00 PM
Northern Iowa
(23) Iowa 2:05 PM
Drake
Central Michigan 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Western Carolina 2:30 PM
North Florida
Wyoming 3:00 PM
Colorado
Portland 3:00 PM
Boise State
Cal Poly 3:00 PM
Colorado State
No Dakota State 3:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Albany 3:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Oklahoma 3:00 PM
Arkansas
Idaho State 3:00 PM
Seattle
(18) Michigan State 3:00 PM
(19) Syracuse
Northwestern 3:30 PM
Arizona State
TX-Arlington 3:30 PM
North Texas
Fresno State 4:00 PM
Oregon
St Francis-PA 4:00 PM
Coastal Carolina
UNLV 4:00 PM
CS-Bakersfield
UCLA 4:00 PM
(2) Connecticut
(10) Louisville 4:00 PM
(24) California
Howard 5:00 PM
Virginia
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
(21) Miss State
Illinois-Chicago 8:30 PM
Old Dominion

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings do Sunday against Miami?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close