Statement of the Grand Inquisitor: De La Hoya’s been an affront to boxing for years, which is hard to do given the easygoing attitude toward human sin that characterizes the sport, but still he’s managed it by being the ultimate slick sellout.
He started off looking like he should be on the cover of Teen Beat magazine, then proceeded to act like that’s actually where he wanted to be. He cut a pop music CD that got nominated for a Grammy; he put out a line of men’s casualwear. He always seemed more interested in the business end of boxing, which is like Michelangelo saying the painting’s okay, but he’s really interested in the business of sucking up to fat Italian noblemen for money. De La Hoya’s always had skills but no soul, putting tormented boxing fans in the Salieri-like position of hating the boxer with the natural Mozart-ish gifts and crying out to the heavens, “Why, O Lord, why give a sweet left hook to THIS asshole??”
Throughout the ‘90s De La Hoya staged a series of snitty public spats with despicable boxing promoter Bob Arum, followed by far more horrifying public make-up smooches in honor of yet another sleazy deal they’d cut. The behind-the-scenes story on that relationship was amazing: supposedly they really believed they had a sentimental father-son bond, when not actually trying to gouge percentages out of each other’s gross, and Arum would get all lip-quivery when he was on the outs with his Golden Boy.
Which brings us to that nauseating title of De La Hoya’s company, Golden Boy Promotions. Golden Boy is the name of the once-famous Clifford Odets play about a guy who’s got two great abilities, one boxing, one violin-playing: he has to box for money, which ruins his hands for his real love, violin-playing, and that’s some sort of big human tragedy. So presumably De La Hoya’s got to box for money, which might scramble his brains that he needs to pursue his real love, which is making money. It’s not a perfect analogy.
De La Hoya’s fight career was exemplified by the 1999 Trinidad fight, when he was ahead in points and decided to coast the last few rounds, bicycling around the ring away from Trinidad just to play it safe. Would the implacable Barrera have done such a thing? Would Chavez? Would Camacho? I ask you! They all came out for battle and took savage beatings and finally, if necessary, hit the canvas with that definitive thud that makes the viewer’s heart constrict with personal pain, as is proper when the mighty are fallen.
Statement of the Defense: What about the Vargas fight? Remember the big grudge match in 2002 when De La Hoya got knocked around then came back and fought a real fight and won? That was pretty good.
Verdict: We’ll concede the Vargas fight, but it’s merely the exception that proves the rule. We order that De La Hoya shall be whipped so soundly by ferocious little Manny Pacquiao that his whole silly face puffs up and he just sits there in his corner admitting he doesn’t have what it takes to be a boxer. Oh wait, that already happened. Well, all right then.
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