What was former multi-weight world champion Oscar De La Hoya’s finest ring victory: his KO over heated rival Fernando Vargas, his close points win over the defensive wizard that was Pernel Whitaker, his first stoppage win over the legendary Julio Cesar Chavez?
Maybe it was in fact De La Hoya’s 1999 welterweight decision win over African terror Ike Quartey. This fight, one that saw “The Golden Boy” operating at his absolute peak, is also a fight that saw De La Hoya hit the deck – only to get up and win the war with the dangerous puncher known as “Bazooka.”
This week, speaking with “The Breakfast Club” programme, the long-retired De La Hoya recalled his thrilling points win over Quartey, and he had a number of interesting revelations to make:
“I was fighting this kid, Ike Quartey, I think he was from Africa, from Ghana, and he was a tough, tough son of a…..I mean, this guy was tough,” De La Hoya said. “And he hit me with everything. He dropped me twice and I think I dropped him three times; I needed the final round to win and I finally won but I couldn’t walk for like two weeks afterwards, you know, because I was so sore and it was painful. And right then and there I said to myself, ‘I need something to do after boxing’ and so what can I do? I said, you know, let me become a promoter.”
And this is where Golden Boy Promotions was born, initially, as Oscar explains, so he could “help these young guys out to establish their own careers.”
As we know, De La Hoya is just one week away from promoting, or co-promoting, the biggest fight of his out-of-the-ring career: Canelo Vs. GGG. Will this fight be as exciting, as intense and as thoroughly engrossing as De La Hoya W12 Quartey turned out to be? Fans sure hope so.
But the fight of over 18 years ago is a stark reminder of how tough De La Hoya was, how great a fighter he was – despite the good looks and the charm.