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By Maloney L. Samaco
Fri, 26 Sep 2008

?The most important thing I?ve done in my life was winning the Olympic gold medal for my mother. Every time I won, it was like telling my mom, ?Here is another one for you.? She was my motivation, my biggest fan,? recalled Oscar de la Hoya, the only gold medalist of the US boxing team in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

Oscar was determined to win at the Olympics for his mother Cecilia, who died of breast cancer while he was working his way towards making the Olympic team. De la Hoya?s teammates in the 1992 Olympic boxing team were Eric Griffin, Timothy Austin, Sergio Reyes, Julian Wheeler, Vernon Forrest, Pepe Reilly, Raul Marquez, Chris Byrd, Montell Griffin, Danell Nicholson, and Larry Donald.

The path to the gold medal bout was not trouble-free. He knocked out Adilson Silva of Brazil in the third round in his first bout. Then he won over Moses Odion of Nigeria, 16-4 and consequently over Tontcho Tontchev of Bulgaria, 16-7. Then in the semi-final round match, what should have been an easy victory became a close controversial decision. In a fight against Sung Sik Hong of South Korea, De La Hoya struggled against his opponent?s rough bull-rushing style, but Oscar would not be denied as he emerged with a tight 11-10 victory.

It happened as if the Divine Providence had designed it. De La Hoya met Marco Rudolph of Germany in the gold medal bout, the same man who handed him his first loss in five years in the 1991 Amateur World Championships. For Oscar, it made the triumph much sweeter.

De La Hoya dominated the fight from beginning to end. He controlled Rudolph for the entire three rounds. This time, Oscar performed like the boxing superstar that he?s destined to be by controlling the fight leading to a 7-2 decision that included a third round knockdown from De La Hoya?s magnificent left hook. De La Hoya celebrated by dancing around the ring with a U.S. flag in one hand and a Mexican flag in the other, his parents being Mexicans.

Last year De La Hoya received the Olympic gold medal that he won when it was returned to him by promoter Bob Arum. In 1996, Oscar presented the medal to Arum on his 65th birthday as a sign of gratitude to his former promoter.

"I was appreciative, it was a wonderful gesture," Arum said. "But I said in front of everybody that I didn't win this medal, he won this medal and that when he retired, I would return it to him."

Arum assisted De La Hoya in forming his own company Golden Boy Promotions, but their good relations declined in 2004. After breaking up professionally for some time, De La Hoya and Arum have reunited to co-promote several fights including the coming mega-fight with Manny ?The Pacman? Pacquiao on December 6.

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Maloney L. Samaco.

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