Wednesday, October 9, 2013
De La Hoya worth his weight in gold
By Chris Lees ESPN Stats & Information
Oscar De La Hoya moved up to junior middleweight in 2001 and defeated Javier Castillejo by decision.
Leading up to Juan Manuel Marquez's bid to win a world title in a fifth different weight class on Saturday, ESPN.com will look back at the elite group of fighters who have already achieved the feat -- we'll roll out a new one each day this week -- in our "Five In Five" series.
Entering the night of June 23, 2001, Oscar De La Hoya had not been a world champion for more than a year. The "Golden Boy" had last held a title in June 2000, when he lost his welterweight belt by split decision to Shane Mosley. But after rebounding with a fifth-round TKO of Arturo Gatti, De La Hoya moved up seven pounds to challenge Spain's Javier Castillejo for the WBC 154-pound title.
NUMBER TO KNOW: OSCAR DE LA HOYA
De La Hoya landed 403 punches in his win over Castillejo. It was the most he ever landed in a world title fight.
The 33-year-old Spaniard might have been unknown to fans in the United States, but had been a standout in the European fight scene for several years. Castillejo had a record of 51-4 and had won 14 consecutive fights, including a 1999 victory over Keith Mullings for his junior middleweight title.
A victory for De La Hoya would not only make him a world champion once again, it would place him on a very short list of quintuple champions. How short? At the time, the list had only two names on it: Thomas Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard.
On fight night, De La Hoya proved his weight in gold as he dominated the action from start to finish. Castillejo was tough, but outmanned. In the final seconds of the 12th round, Castillejo landed a solid left hook to De La Hoya's face. This only enraged De La Hoya, as he then responded with a flurry of punches that sent the champion to the canvas. Castillejo beat the count, but not the judges' scorecards. All three scored the fight 119-108.
The CompuBox numbers also showed the Golden Boy's dominance. He landed 54 percent of his 749 punches, compared to just 18 percent for Castillejo.
At age 28, De La Hoya became the youngest man to win world titles in five different divisions (both Hearns and Leonard were in their early 30s), and he would not stop there. After losing his rematch with Mosley in 2003, he stepped up to middleweight where he took the WBO title from an undefeated Felix Sturm in 2004 -- his sixth title in a different weight class.