Former champion boxer and longtime Pasadena resident gives back to the community
Published : Wednesday, August 28, 2019 | 5:08 AM
Some of Southern California’s top boxing prospects promoted by former “Golden Boy of boxing” Oscar de la Hoya will climb into a ring in front of Pasadena City Hall for a Friday fight night that will benefit Pasadena youth programs.
Hosted by the Oscar De La Hoya Foundation, “Fights Under the Lights” will also include a live concert and a beer garden. The event will be televised as part of a special Friday edition of the Golden Boy DAZN Thursday Night Fights series, available on regional sports networks around the nation.
De La Hoya is expected to be at the event.
“We’re super excited for this event that is free to the public and we’re expecting a great turnout,” de la Hoya said in a pre-event interview with Pasadena Now. “These kids are up and coming world champions and they’re a perfect example of what it takes to work hard and go for your goals and dreams.”
Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek said the event is a wonderful opportunity for the City.
“Oscar de la Hoya is a Pasadena resident and came to us some months ago with an idea to have an event and donate to the community,” he said. “We are grateful that he identifies with Pasadena and is making this contribution, I’m delighted.”
The main event is an 8-round bout between Ferdinand Kerobyan vs. Oscar Molina and on the undercard is another 8-rounder featuring Emilio Sanchez vs. Jose Gonzalez, and a 6-rounder between Bektemir Melikuziev against an opponent yet to be named.
“These are local kids from the surrounding Los Angeles area and are the perfect example of what it takes to persevere and go for your dreams,” he said. “It’s a perfect way out for many of these kids, to grow self esteem and better their lives. Like myself, through boxing we’re able to nurture kids to be better citizens.”
De la Hoya, the longtime champ from Southern California, retired from professional boxing in 2009 and ramped up his career as a boxing promoter. He said he got the idea to have a Pasadena-based boxing event while spending some downtime around town.
“The way it came about was I was at my favorite breakfast spot around 6:30 a.m.,” he said. “I’ve been living here in Pasadena for the last 19 years now and I’ve never done anything here in Pasadena. I keep my privacy and people are super respectful if I go to a restaurant or go out around here.
“But I thought, ‘Why not do something for the City of Pasadena to benefit the local community?’ So I called the mayor and he gave us the time to meet with him and we discussed an outdoor professional boxing event that would be televised on a regional sports network.”
Standing-room only admission is free to the public on Friday night. Limited seated tickets for this event are on sale and start at $25. Attendees can purchase tickets online at www.GoldenBoyTickets.com, or at the event.
“This event is all for charity,” de la Hoya said. “It’s going to be pretty cool with the backdrop of Pasadena City Hall.
The Pasadena Parks and Rec Villa-Parke program held a boxing event in front of City Hall last week. Coach Fausto De La Torre, the boxing specialist for the department started the event four years ago with the annual Centennial Hall Boxing Show, which hosts amateur boxers from around Southern California and beyond.
De la Hoya gave the local Pasadena boxing program at Villa-Parke credit for its accomplishments.
“It’s been several years, but I remember as a kid growing up going to Villa-Parke and their events have been incredible they do great work for the kids and keeping them off the street,” de la Hoya said. “It’s the reason why we’re doing this event, to give back money to Villa-Parke, to give back money to local charities.”
De La Torre said he’s happy de la Hoya recognized the work of Villa-Parke program and is hopeful de la Hoya might one day bring his professional boxing to Pasadena on a regular basis.
“It’s great that he’s bringing professional boxing to City Hall,” he said. “The next step is to bring boxing to the Rose Bowl,” De La Torre said. “They don’t need to have the fights in Las Vegas, we have the best stadium right here in our own backyard.”
De la Hoya competed from 1992 to 2008 and won many world titles across six weight classes. He’s considered one of the best boxers of all time and was tabbed The Golden Boy of boxing when he fought for the U.S. at the 1992 summer Olympics, where he won a gold medal. He first started boxing promotion in 2002, when he founded his Golden Boy Promotions.
Does De la Hoya ever get the desire to get back in the ring?
“I actually get that feeling every single day,” he said. “I always feel like ‘Today’s the day I will make a comeback.’ But obviously my days are over. I’m very content with what I’m doing now, I had my years in the ring and I’m fortunate I can give these kids a platform to become the next Golden Boys.”
De la Hoya said being a promoter is a true change of pace from being a fighter.
“It’s a drastic change, he said. “But my calling always continues to be involved in the sport that gave me everything. I started boxing at 5 years old, I won the Gold Medal in 1992. It gave me everything and the values I grew up, the hard work, the discipline. So when I decided to make the transition it was a fairly easy one.
“It’s a lot of fun knowing we can develop young kids into future world champions and we can make their dreams come true,” he said. “Every young kid who aspires to be a world champion wants to make a better life for themselves.”
De la Hoya said he not only wants to provide an example to young people, but also to those who may be considering a career change later in life.
“My advice is if you really love something don’t be afraid to pursue it,” he said. “If you’ve been doing something for several years and you think you have another calling don’t be afraid to do it.”