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OPEN LETTER TO OSCAR DE LA HOYA


PhilBoxing.com





Since I can remember, I?ve been a boxing fan. My uncle, Humberto Santos, was a professional boxer and had some fights in Arena Mexico. I think that?s how I got bitten by the boxing bug.

I remember also that occasionally I would watch TV (I say occasionally since my parents were very poor and we lived in a very small house with a dirt floor. My father would sell plates in the streets and we barely had enough to eat.) We had an old black a white TV for which we used a hanger as an antenna to obtain a signal. This way we could watch some fights on Saturday nights. Later my parents, with great sacrifice and long hours of work, were able to improve the economic condition of our family, were able to buy a better television.

In 1992 when I was just 16 years old when I saw an interview on Mexican television of a fighter that was in the Olympics and I was surprised by his story of wishing to win a gold medal for his mother that had passed. Specially since the interview was in English, it caught my attention because the only time I heard the English language was from the music my uncles listened to from the groups The Doors or The Beatles. Growing up in a small town like Tuxtepec Oaxaca, the only thing I knew of the English language was ?Thank You?.

It would turn out that the young man who represented the United Status, but carried the flag of Mexico in his hands and won the gold was known as ?The Golden Boy? Oscar de la Hoya.

Even with all the limitations that life presented with me at that time, I attempted to become an amateur boxer, training for several months and trying to get some fights without much success. So I decided instead to focus in school and my biggest goal was to learn English. I told myself that if that kid with the gold medal could speak English so do I.

Oscar gave me the motivation to speak with my parents and asked them for the opportunity to go to the United States and learn English. That?s how I wound up in the Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne, Pa. USA, a military academy in which I would spend three years of my life. Those years would prove to be difficult for me since I had never left my house, specially to a place so far away. To complicate things further was the fact that I didn?t speak or understand English. But my motivation to succeed was great and for that I need to thank you Oscar. In the end I learned English and that has proven to be of great benefit to myself. My family?s situation has improved greatly in all aspects, both socially, and economically. You were also a great source of motivation for them.

For myself I now own my own business and have also taken to journalism to be closer to boxing. I have tried to make myself day by day learning from the examples of many people, thanking all the people who have supported me as well as those that closed their doors to me. But without a doubt there is something that I will never forget is the day I accomplished one of my goals which was to know the person that gave me the motivation to get ahead in my life. That day happened just a year in May 2008 when finally after 16 years since I since first saw him on TV, I got to know Oscar de la Hoya when I attended his fight live agasint Steve Forbes.

Since 1992 and as time has gone by, my passion for boxing has grown and have followed the sport religiously, devouring through books, videos, biographies, watching fights and practicing it from time to time. All along following the famous career of the Golden Boy from his first fight to the pinnacle of boxing.

Oscar, many people like to say, that you're a creation of the public, merchandising and of great promotion. There is a certain truth to all these. However since 1995, already in possession of the WBO junior lightweight and lightweight titles, the fights with boxing elites began. Matches with fighters like John John Molina, Genaro Hern?ndez, Rafael Ruelas, Jesse James Leija. From there you faced the best fighters in the world like Julio Cesar Chavez who you defeated to win the WBC jr welterweight title.

You faced a formidable opponent in Miguel Angel Gonzales, you won the welterweight title in controversial fight against Pernell Whitaker, followed by fights with Hector ?Macho? Camacho and the rematch with Julio Cesar Chavez. You reigned supreme after beating Quartey, an excellent boxer with a strong jab who no one wanted to face. You were robbed of a victory and your title against Felix Trinidad, lost an excellent fight against Shane Mosley. Captured the WBC title at 154 by beating Javier Castillejo. You took possesi?n of the WBA title in that same weight class in a memorable fight against your rival Fernando Vargas. You then lost both of your titles in a close fight in your rematch with Shane Mosley, a fight you might have won, but were then able to capture the WBO middleweight title when you were given the nod against Felix Sturm in a fight I honestly felt you lost. Bernard Hopkins would then beat you in nine rounds, and then a fight with Ricardo Mayorga would allow you to regain possession of the WBC super welter (at that moment I believed it was ideal for you to retire). Later Floyd Mayweather would beat you to take that crown from you and Manny Pacquiao would do the unexpected in stopping you in 8 rounds.

It is normal for human beings to try to downplay the accomplishment of others. In your case this is even more likely since you are a boxer. But what no one can take away from you is that you fought the best in every division you fought in. There will always be critics and detractors, if the greatest fighters like Sugar Ray Robinson, Muhammad Ali and Henry Armstrong had them, it is only natural that fighters called De La Hoya, Pacquiao or Chavez will have them too.

But your legacy in this sport of warriors has been written, you will go down in the history of boxing as one of its greatest fighters of all time, being the only one to conqueror 10 world titles in six weight divisions, from 130 to 160. There is nothing left to prove in the ring. None of your fans want you to leave with a lose in your record and I feel the same. However what could be wrong with going out with a lose when the defeat came at the hands of the pound for pound best boxer in the world.

You weren?t defeated by just anyone, or some mediocre fighter, you were defeated by the current king of the sport. If we take into account that other greats concluded their careers with loses to fighters of lesser quality, it can't be considered a bad idea to finish your illustrious career right now, four months after fighting in one of the greatest events in boxing history.

Whatever your choice, let it be the best for your health, family, company and the sport that you have given everything to.

Take care Champ!


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Hesiquio Balderas.


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