Oscar De La Hoya is more well known today as the head of Golden Boy Promotions. He has helped engineer the careers of Canelo Alvarez, and he’s worked with others like Floyd Mayweather Jr. over the past 15 years.
Because of everything De La Hoya has accomplished as a promoter, it might be easy for some younger fans of boxing to forget, or to be unaware of the kind of boxer he was in the ring.
If you have never had the opportunity to watch him compete, De La Hoya was one of the finest and most complete boxers of his era.
Before De La Hoya turned pro, he amassed an amateur career of 223-5. He won the National Golden Gloves in 1989. In 1990, he won the National Championships and a Gold Medal at the Goodwill Games. In 1991, He won another National Championship gold medal, and the same honor at the U.S. Olympic Festival. In 1992, De La Hoya punctuated his amateur career with a gold medal at the Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.
As a professional, De La Hoya won world titles in six weight classes, and in 2014, he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. He retired with a career record of 39-6 with 30 wins by knockout. He was also one of the most marketable and profitable boxers of all time.
Some even called him the original Pay-Per-View king. De La Hoya competed in four bouts that drew more than a million buys on Pay-Per-View, and it is estimated his career earnings in 19 PPV fights are over $700 million. Surely a man with so much success has signature techniques.
Today, Evolve Daily shares five of Oscar De La Hoya’s signature boxing techniques you can add to your game.
1) Combination Punching
Perhaps more than any other aspect of De La Hoya’s arsenal, his combination punching was his best weapon. De La Hoya had superior hand speed, and he also possessed uncanny accuracy with his punches.
He could fire off a fusillade of shots in a second that would either damage his opponent or put them on the defensive. Whenever De La Hoya had an opponent in trouble, he often finished bouts with these signature combinations. Watching him launch bombs from close range was one of the more jaw-dropping sights in boxing during De La Hoya’s prime.
2) Exiting Striking Range After Combinations
While the combinations were always dangerous, De La Hoya didn’t break one cardinal sin of boxing: he never stood to admire his work. Boxers are taught never to pose (meaning to stand still) immediately after throwing their combinations.
It’s a defensive tactic that helps a boxer transition from offense to a guarded position. De La Hoya was excellent at this technique, which is part of the reason he was rarely hurt in his career.
3) Piston-Like Jab
We’ve talked a bit about combination punching, but we cannot neglect De La Hoya’s top-notch jab. This pace-setting and space-commanding shot was a major part of De La Hoya’s overall game. In fact, when he did have trouble during his career, it was usually because he abandoned the punch for a long stretch during a bout.
The losses to Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao spring to mind as matches De La Hoya lost when the throwing of his jab became too infrequent. When De La Hoya was at his best, he was controlling shorter opponents with his jab, and also igniting the aforementioned combinations with the jab as the starter.
4) Taking a Punch
De La Hoya was an excellent defensive fighter, but even the best at evading a punch will still have their time to absorb a blow. De La Hoya’s chin proved sturdy, and he attributed his ability to absorb a punch to his training.
De La Hoya was always taught to bite down on his mouthpiece as means to brace for impact. Throughout his career, he didn’t abandon that tactic, and that’s partially why he was never finished with a headshot. It might sound overly simplistic, but there is a reason the legend was so difficult to stop.
5) Lead Left Hook
Many don’t know De La Hoya is naturally left-handed. However, when he was five years old, he was trained to box from an orthodox stance–meaning his left hand was his lead. This alteration made his jab more powerful and effective, but it also made it a little easier to turn the lead punch from a jab into a hook.
As a matter of fact, De La Hoya would watch for opponents to move their guard up and down, and he would attempt to time the slightest dropping of their hands and use that as an opening to land the left hook.
He stung the legendary Julio Cesar Chavez with this punch on a number of occasions in their two one-sided meetings. If you’ve never had a chance to watch De La Hoya in the ring, we encourage you to take some time to watch his bouts on YouTube. If you’re looking for a great one, watch his epic battle with Ghana’s Ike Quartey. It’s one of De La Hoya’s most skillful and gutsy performances.