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By Maloney L. Samaco

17 Apr 2009

It was the end of the road for the number one boxing personality in the whole world. But at least this time, only as a fighter. Oscar “Golden Boy” de la Hoya has announced his retirement. He declared this before hundreds of fans just across the Staples Center on April 14, where his seven-foot bronze statue was erected.

Fighting 16 years, garnering 10 world titles in 6 different weight divisions, defeating 17 world champions, and 39-6 with 30 knockouts, now at 36 years old, de la Hoya declared "This is the love of my life, boxing is my passion, boxing is what I was born to do. When I can't do it anymore, when I can't compete at the highest level, it's not fair. It's not fair to me, it's not fair to the fans, it's not fair to nobody."

It ended the speculations of a match-up with undefeated Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., who is out to revenge the defeat of his father twice to the Golden Boy himself. De la Hoya won the only gold medal for the powerhouse United States in boxing during the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games. As an amateur, he amassed 223 wins, 163 by knock outs, with only six losses.

Manny Pacquiao has proven to the whole boxing world that his “idol” has crossed the summit of his golden career and as what coach Freddie Roach has successfully predicted, that Oscar “can’t pull the trigger anymore.” The “Dream Match” which proved to be Oscar’s “nightmare” ended the illustrious career of the most glamorous boxer in the history of boxing.

De la Hoya is boxing’s biggest pay-per-view draw harvesting a total of 14.1 million units for an estimated $696 million PPV income. His fights with Floyd Mayweather, Jr., Felix Trinidad, and Pacquiao, all landed in the top ten all-time PPV sales.

Oscar’s outfit, the Golden Boy Promotions, is one of the most dynamic and respected boxing promoters, breaking all existing PPV records. Thus he became the first Latino to own a promotional boxing company. He expended his business empire due to his ability to deal with both English and Spanish-speaking clientele.

De La Hoya's company Golden Boy Enterprises bought The Ring Magazine, KO Magazine, World Boxing Magazine and Pro Wrestling Illustrated from the Kappa Publishing Group. The company also acquired as part-owner the major league soccer team Houston Dynamos.

Armed with a movie-star charisma, de la Hoya draws fans not only among the male boxing lovers, but also among the women and the third sex. Thus his magnetic appeal transcends pro boxing from a mere professional sport to an entertainment business.

De La Hoya was awarded as The Ring Magazine's "Fighter of the Year" in 1995 and its number one pound for pound fighter in 1997. He has defeated seventeen former world champions including Jimmy Bredahl, Jorge Paez, John-John Molina, Rafael Ruelas, Genaro Hernandez, Jesse James Leija, Julio Cesar Chavez, Miguel Angel Gonzalez, Pernell Whitaker, Hector Camacho, Arturo Gatti, Ike "Bazooka" Quartey, Javier Castillejo, Luis Ramon Campas, Fernando Vargas, Felix Sturm, and Ricardo Mayorga.

Before the “Dream Match’” he showed signs of deterioration during the match with Steve Forbes whom he defeated by a close unanimous decision. His six losses were dealt by Pacquiao, Mayweather, Bernard Hopkins, Felix Trinidad, and Shane Mosley twice.

Top photo: Golden Boy Oscar de la Hoya (R) hugs his wife Millie during De La Hoya's announcement to retire April 14 in Los Angeles. Photo by Dong Secuya.

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