Oscar De La Hoya has done it all in the boxing business. His little cousin, 21-year-old Diego De La Hoya is trying to follow in the family footsteps and take his boxing career to the next level. Diego has the pedigree and so far the undefeated fighter seems to have the skills to pay the bills.
Golden Boy Promotions has produced and promoted its share of World Champions and now Diego De La Hoya (13-0, 7 KOs) is on the rise and will make his first appearance of 2016 tonight as the main event on Estrella TV’s Boxeo Estelar against former world title contender Arturo “Fuerte” Badillo (21-9, 19 KOs) at The Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles.
Badillo fought for the World Boxing Assn. super-flyweight belt in 2011, losing to countryman Hugo Fidel Cazares by knockout. Badillo has been defeated in eight of nine bouts (with five consecutive losses), and he's been stopped in seven of them.
The fight appears to be another tune up for Diego, who has a tough task of following in the colossal footsteps of his older cousin, who is also his boss.
"He's very good. He’s a people-pleaser," Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya told the LA Times in July of 2015. "He loves fighting. And when he gets hit, you can see the fire in his eyes. He wants revenge. He reminds me of me."
That's high praise indeed.
"The Golden Boy" won a gold medal at the 1992 Olympics shortly after graduating High School in Los Angeles, California. Boxing runs deep in the De La Hoya family blood. His grandfather Vicente, father Joel Sr. and brother Joel Jr. were all prize fighters.
As a professional, De La Hoya has taken part in some of the most classic brawls of the last quarter century. He’s defeated 17 world champions and won ten world titles in six different weight classes.
He’s a legend at the box office and has generated approximately $700 million in pay-per-view income making him the top pay-per-view earner after Floyd Mayweather. In 2002, he became the first American of Mexican descent to own a national boxing promotional firm when he started Golden Boy Promotions.
Diego De La Hoya had a phenomenal year in 2015. Since making his professional debut in 2013, he’s become a fan favorite and carried the family flag like a dedicated soldier.
The Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico native was lethal in 2015. He scored an impressive victory over world title contender Manuel “Suavecito” Roman at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in February and whipped Ramiro “Zurdo” Robles in his first appearance at LA FIGHT CLUB in May.
He followed those wins up with emphatic victories over Jose “Hollywood” Estrella in July, former world title challenger Jesus “Estrella” Ruiz in September to capture the WBC Youth Super Bantamweight Title, and Giovanni “Lloviznas” Delgado in November.
“I think we will see him to continue to rise in the sport and become a top contender,” said Oscar. “Diego has had strong numbers for his televised fights, which is a great indication that the fans love him and will want to see more of him in the ring this year.”
The Shadow League spoke to Diego via conference call about his upcoming fight and his booming boxing career.
TSL: The De La Hoya name is well respected in boxing. Does this add any pressure to live up to Oscar? What are some pros and cons associated with this?
Diego: No, there’s really no pressure because I know what I have to do come Fight Night and train hard. I understand that I am a target because of my name but that makes me work that much harder.
TSL: Can you tell me about how it is working with Joel Diaz? Are there any changes in training or adjustments?
Diego: Joel’s style matches really well with mine as far as training goes. He teaches counter punching, and I am counter puncher. He has a great stable of fighters that he works with, so this works out perfect for me.
TSL: Now that you are headlining at the Belasco again, do you feel as if your fan base is growing? Do you have any messages to your fans?
Diego: I certainly believe I have more fans now. I have definitely worked my way up to gain their respect. For my fans, I hope they come out and watch me tomorrow night.
TSL: How much do you know about Arturo Badillo’s style? What challenges does he bring to the table and what will it take to beat him tomorrow?
Diego: First and foremost, everyone comes to beat me up. I’m going to use my smart strategy we trained on at camp. He’s going to try to come in dirty and rough me up but I have to keep my composure and stick to the game plan.
TSL: Are there any fighters you would like to fight that are world champions or super bantamweight fighters?
Diego: I’m not too impressed by anyone. I’ll fight anyone.
TSL: For 2016, do you expect to transition to 10 round fights regularly? How many fights do you plan on having this year?
Diego: Realistically, between 4 and 5 fights this year with 10 rounds and maybe even 12 rounds later this year if it’s for a worthy title. This upcoming fight will probably be the last 8 rounder.
TSL: Do you plan on fighting for a belt this year?
Diego: I already have a belt, so for the next fight in May I will be defending my title.