Silver Lining, Made Of Gold

Day 17: Today as we scratch off day #18 we take a look at the “Goldenboy”, Oscar De La Hoya. A legendary Boxer who has taken no shorts in his road to greatness. His iconic stature makes him the larger half of the duo getting set to tango, unfortunately for Floyd Mayweather, that will be both literally and figuratively. Yesterday we took a look at “Prettyboy” Floyd and discussed just how great he is and whether or not he deserves the accolades he gets. Today, we take a look at his opponent, Oscar Dela Hoya to uncover exactly how and why he is who he is in the world of Boxing. What Makes Oscar So Good? When you hear the name Oscar Dela Hoya, many things come to mind. For the guys, it’s his great skills, for the ladies, perhaps his great looks. No matter who you talk to, everyone has an opinion on Oscar and this is partly because he transcends the sport of Boxing itself in many regards. Coming from very little in East L.A. to basically palming the world (at least in the sport of Boxing) in his hands is no small feat by anyone’s imagination. Known by all in his circle to be a very good natured guy, the flip side of this ‘beauty’ is a ‘beast’ that has made many of men succumb to the pressures relative to sharing the same airspace with him inside the ‘squared circle’. A gentleman at heart, his killer instinct continues to separate him from most of the pack. He isn’t known as the biggest guy in the world and not by any stretch of the imagination the strongest, but when the adrenaline gets to percolating all this changes as we’ve seen on many occasions. ‘Silver Lining’ There was a point in his earlier days when Oscar had baseball and other things on his mind but after a swift change that came at the hands of his Father, Joel Dela Hoya, Oscar became committed to the sport. Even after making the change and becoming more boxing-oriented, Oscar still had mild thoughts of doing other things until his Mother, Cecilia Gonzalez Dela Hoya told him from her dying bed to ‘keep fighting’ and ‘win the gold’. Her untimely loss was obviously a painful one, but as the NBA’s Miami Heat Head Coach Pat Riley once stated, “In every setback is a seed of benefit which potentially sparks progress”. In this case it was the last words she spoke to Oscar. Those platinum quality words provided the silver lining which later became responsible for turning Oscar into the ‘Golden child’. ‘Made of Gold’ Seeing his Mother unable to overcome her unfortunate odds gave Oscar the power to work harder to overcome his own. His initial vow was to win the Olympic Gold Medal and he did. From that triumph, he went on to take the Boxing world by storm. To date, Oscar has defeated 17 current or former World Champions, one twice (Julio Caeser Chavez). His dominance in the sport remains unparalleled as he continues to defy the odds. Starting out at a weight level of 130lbs and increasing to 160lbs, Oscar has never met a division he hasn’t been successful in or an opponent he didn’t give a major fit while doing it. To the average person it would seem a bit odd to see a man so humble possess such a killer instinct but in the ring Oscar is far from the mild and meek man seen goofing off with his wife and son, Millie and Oscar Gabriel. At the tender age of 34 with many ‘wars in the ring from yesterday’ in his rear view mirror, the question of age is beginning to seep in and chant louder. When ‘father time’ will step in and declare that he throw the towel in is anyone’s guess, but one thing for sure; Whenever it is time for him to fold the tents and carry on, the sport of Boxing will no doubt lose one of it’s classiest performers, and one of the grittiest contenders to ever lace ’em up. In a huge change of fortune from his earlier days, things for the once poor Oscar couldn’t look any better. Not at all bad for a pretty boy getting ready to wage war with thee “Pretty Boy”. Either way the fight turns out it’s important to note that his legacy is what it is and will last forever. Simply put, “real gold never fades”. Tomorrow’s installment, Countdown Day #16 will take a look at the two fighters together in: “The Man, The Myth”: The Truth About Oscar And Floyd. This piece will take a look at some of the misconceptions relative to these two fighters that can’t seem to shake the mouth of their critics.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.