Do some fighters have what could be called a ‘lucky month?’ A particular 30-or 31-day period across a number of years where big things happened? Maybe. It’s been pointed out how heavyweight legend George Foreman enjoyed special, notable things during his career in the month of January (“Big George” winning the heavyweight title with a crushing win over Joe Frazier in January, Foreman having his epic rumble with Ron Lyle in January, Foreman’s much-ridiculed comeback having its first fight of respect in January, this against Gerry Cooney – heck, Foreman was born in January).
And so it is with Oscar De La Hoya and the month of September. The current issue of Ring Magazine pays tribute to De La Hoya, and “The Golden Boy” enjoyed no less than four big and notable ring triumphs in the month in question. While De La Hoya also suffered defeat, some of it controversial, in the month of September.
It was back on September 9, 1995 when Oscar shattered the nose of former champ Genaro Hernandez on the way to a stoppage win, this an important scalp for the 21 year old wanna be great. Then, when an established world champion, De La Hoya fought and defeated Hector Camacho in a much-hyped fight, this on September 13 of 1997. And then, in their return fight, De La Hoya fully earned the respect of Julio Cesar Chavez, this when Oscar left no doubt, stopping Mexico’s greatest ever via corner stoppage. The date? Yes, September, this time the 18,th of 1998.
September’s good luck failed to show up on September 18 of the following year, when Oscar lost his unbeaten record in the massive welterweight unification showdown with Felix Trinidad. The loss, a majority verdict in favour of “Tito,” was most debatable, the fight’s decision still being argued about all these years later.
De La Hoya won one of the biggest, most personally important fights of his career three years later, when the now 30 year old “Golden Boy” smashed bitter rival Fernando Vargas to a late stoppage defeat. The date was September 14 of 2002. This one was as impressive from De La Hoya as it was immensely satisfying to him inside. Oscar’s good luck month had returned. For a while.
On September 13 of the following year, De La Hoya was bested in his return fight with “Sugar” Shane Mosley. Mosley had beaten De La Hoya in a 2000 FOTY contender, and it was repeat, not revenge, in the sequel. Once again, though, a decision that went against Oscar was widely looked at as a controversial one.
And then, in his final fight to take place in the month of September, De La Hoya suffered his first stoppage loss. Fighting Bernard Hopkins in a brave, dare to be great middleweight title challenge, Oscar fell to a 9th round body shot. Some suggested De La Hoya ‘quit.’ Others said no way. But September’s tally was done: De La Hoya winning four big ones in the month, losing three.
What is not in doubt is the fact that De La Hoya has one heck of an impressive resume. Whether or not you rank De La Hoya as an all-time great, you surely cannot deny the fact that he consistently fought the best. Often in the month of September.