Statue of Oscar has bernard wanting one
LOS ANGELES — Oscar De La Hoya officially became a local legend in an outdoor news conference at a ritzy downtown restaurant on Wednesday.
A life-sized statue of the six-division former world champion will be placed at Star Plaza in front of the Staples Center, joining similar works of art honoring former Los Angeles Kings star Wayne Gretzky and Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson.
De La Hoya, who fights Steve Forbes on Saturday at the Home Depot Center in nearby Carson, Calif., was visibly moved by the honor. It was engineered by his close friend, Richard Schaefer, the chief executive officer of his Golden Boy Promotions, and Dan Beckerman, the chief operating officer of AEG, which operates Staples. As he sat on the dais after he learned of the news, De La Hoya seemed stunned and mouthed "Wow!" to himself several times.
"I'm blown away by it," De La Hoya said later, shaking his head. "It's a huge honor. Richard got me on that one. And Dan Beckerman. I had no idea. "I'm going to drive by it every day, just to make sure they don't egg it."
Schaefer said it was a fitting honor for De La Hoya, noting how much he meant to the Los Angeles community. De La Hoya was born in an impoverished part of East Los Anglees, but went on to win a gold medal in the 1992 Olympics and become one of the biggest stars in boxing history.
The move got one of De La Hoya's business partners, ex-light heavyweight and middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins, thinking. Hopkins, who is from Philadelphia, said "I'm going to have to find a way to get me one of these in Philadelphia." Hopkins will have competition in Philadelphia, though. There is already a life-sized statue of a boxer on display in a prominent public place: Rocky Balboa, the fictional fighter played by actor Sylvester Stallone.
"Very few people really understand what it means to be a fighter. I hate it when I hear someone say, 'That fighter doesn't have guts. I hate that, I don't care if you're a world champion six times over or a four-round fighter, to step inside that ring, you have to have guts" Oscar De La Hoya