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Basketball season is over at McKale. Spring football is wrapped up. Wildcats Softball and Baseball are on a rampage through their PAC-12 schedules. We still have the Roadrunners taking the ice at the TCC and the Tucson Saguaros begin their Pecos League title defense campaign next month. Tucson area kids have begun their little league and school baseball and softball season in parks all over southern Arizona. Club teams of all sorts are traveling throughout the state. AllSportsTucson.com has covered it all.
No matter the time of year, however, Casino Del Sol has been bringing nationally and internationally televised boxing and MMA action to the Old Pueblo. Some of boxing biggest names have set up rings in Tucson lately. Bob Arum, James Toney, Roy Jones Jr, Michelle Rosado, Greg Cohen, Dmitry Salita, among others, have all brought some of boxing’s brightest rising stars to Tucson and Casino Del Sol during 2016 alone.
Oscar De La Hoya is adding his name to this list.
The ten time world champion in six different weight classes, International Boxing Hall of Famer, Olympic gold medalst and US Olympic Hall of Famer, who generated approximately $700 million in pay per view revenue during his 39-6 career, fought the absolute very best of his time.
Having had an amatuer record around 230-6, De La Hoya spent 16 years in the ring professionally (1992-2008). Opponents had a combined record of 1646-124-45 and Oscar was involved in some truly great epics. The likes of Julio Cesar Chavez, Pernell Whitaker, Hector Camacho, Miguel Angel Gonzalez, Oba Carr, Felix Trinidad, Derrell Coley, Shane Mosley, Arturo Gatti, Javier Castillejo, Fernando Vargas, Luis Ramon Campas, Shane Mosley, Bernard Hopkins, Ricardo Mayorga, Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao were just a few.
After winning his first title in 1994, The Golden Boy only faced three challengers with five or more losses on their record and didn’t suffer a defeat of his own until half way into his 16 year professional trek, at the hands of Felix “Tito” Trinidad. De La Hoya fought consistently until 2004 and attempted a comback in 2006, where he was able to capture the WBC Super Welterweight crown, only to relinquish it in a split decision in his first title defense against Mayweather. Losing two of his last three, including an embarassing defeat to Pacquiao, De La Hoya stepped into the world of boxing promotion.
It’s every single one of those credentials, that world class champion resume of his, a couple of world champions in his stable like Canelo Alvarez and Jorge Linares and a corrale of young, very impressive looking NABF champions along with a WBC Youth Super Bantamweight Champ and a WBO Intercontinental and WBC Continental Americas Middleweight Champ, that Oscar De La Hoya is throwing behind an event being hosted at Casino Del Sol on May 18th. Alvarez is fighting Julio Cesar Chavez Jr on May 6th in what is one of the most anticipated fights in the last five years. Golden Boy Promotions then shifts their attention to Tucson where Deigo De La Hoya (17-0 9KOs) will face Erik Ruiz (16-6-1, 6 KOs) in a scheduled 10 round main event televised live on ESPN.
BREAKING DOWN THE FIGHTERS:
Diego De La Hoya (17-0, 9KOs)
Ranked: 18th (world) 7th(Mexico)
Birthdate: August 13, 1994
Birthplace: Mexicali, Mexico
Hometown: Mexicali, Mexico
Cousin of Oscar De La Hoya, Diego made his pro debut on September 12, 2013 and was entrusted with leading the next generation in the family business. Diego is off to an impressive start. In studying his last three fights, it is easy to see his improvement from bout to bout. The only thing that makes his progress in the professional ranks less noticable to the average fight fan and what keeps him from breaking through as a highly talked about fighter, is the fact that 8 of his 18 opponents have lost more than 6 fights. Ten have come off of losses prior to fighting him. Only 3 times have opponents been on winning streaks of 2 or more before their bouts with him and Diego De La Hoya has only once stepped into the ring with an undefeated fighter. Nonetheless, he’s defeated them all but Golden Boy will need to pit him against dramatically better competition for fight fans to start taking notice. Especially if he wants to step out of the shadow of his legendary cousin and make a name for himself. He’s winning for now. But fight fans are tuning in for his famous last name. In comparison with top knotch contemporaries, Oscar Valdez was already preparing for a world title bout at the same stage in his career. Vasyl Lomachenko had already won one title, vacated it and went on to win another belt in another division.
That said, Diego has the potential to contend for world titles. He does a good job of mixing up is combinations and throwing punches in bunches. His jab takes a while to get going, but once it’s out there and against someones face, it’s almost always followed up by at least two more blows coming from different directions each time. He seldomly throws a single punch. If an opponent sees one glove coming, he needs to know that the other glove is already on it’s way. De la Hoya pocesses a repertoire, similar to that of Oscar Valdez, in that he’s very dependent on a balance of both power and speed. Valdez is in a entirely different class however and is everything De la Hoya hopes to someday be. De La Hoya’s understanding of constantly moving to cause opponents to reset is remarkable. The mental aspects in his tool bag is what is going to carry Diego De la Hoya throughout his career. Having access to world class training has allowed him to learn the intricacies of boxing very early in his career. It’s only a matter of time before his physical development catches up to be on the world class level of his contemporaries.
Erik Ruiz (16-6-1, 6 KOs)
Streak (last 6): 2-3-1
Ranked: 126(world) 12(USA)
Birthdate: March 10, 1991
Born: Oxnard, CA, USA
Hometown: Oxnard, CA, USA
Ruiz is trained by former IBF Super Featherweight Champion boxer Roberto Garcia who has trained world champions Nonito Donaire, Brandon Rios, Marcos Maidana and Antonio Margarito. Ruiz will not be phased by a famous name when he enters the ring on May 18th. At this point in his career, Ruiz is yet to sign a promotional contract. He doesn’t let that stop him from remaining dedicated to the sport. Ruiz is known by those closest to him as the hardest worker at the Robert Garcia Boxing Academy. Whether Ruiz has a fight date set or not, he’s known for training as if he was preparing for the fight of his life.
“He’s one of the only fighters in my gym that doesn’t have a promoter. Doesn’t have a Golden Boy, a Top Rank or a Main Events or anything like that. He doesn’t. He’s got skills to be signed by somebody. It just hasn’t happened. But he’s always in shape. What happens when you’re that type of fighter? They call you a week before fight night,” Garcia said after Ruiz’s draw against Horacio Garcia. “I think my problem is, I can’t say no,” added Ruiz.
They’ve also suggested that his opponents have had the marquee promoters that may play a roll in how judges call fights. Roberto Garcia and Ruiz were annament after the draw that they had won the fight clearly, having bloodied the face of Horacio Garcia and broken his nose and Ruiz leaving the ring relatively clean. The Ruiz corner made statements saying that Horacio being signed to Golden Boy and having Canelo Alvarez in his corner, may have influenced judges to vote a certain way. Since the fight with Horacia Garcia, Ruiz has a win over Hanzel Martinez (signed with Roy Jones Jr) and a loss to Rico Ramos (managed by Al Haymon).
It has been the Ruiz camp’s go-to explaination for the mixed results over the last two years. Ruiz will take fights on extremely short notice and since January, 2015 he has been 3-5-1. That excuse, however, will not hold up if he were to come up short against De la Hoya. With ample time to train and study his opponent, Ruiz might have run out of excuses. Except one of the greatest champions of all time will be standing behind the man he faces.
And perhaps, there will be a Canelo Alvarez appearance, depending on how his date with Chavez goes. Who knows?
FACTS: De La Hoya vs. Ruiz is a 10-round super bantamweight bout set for May 18, presented by Golden Boy Promotions. The event is sponsored by Tecate “Born BOLD.” ESPN Deportes will transmit the fights live from the Casino Del Sol Event Center.
TICKETS: Tickets for De La Hoya vs. Ruiz can be purchased online at www.casinodelsol.com.
Jose Roman Jr. was born a Wildcat fan, lifetime fanhood was solidified when he was able to meet Tedy Bruschi, Sean Harris, Brandon Sanders, Chuck Levy and Ontiwaun Carter as a sixth grader. Having served 10 years in the armed forces and been deployed all over the world, he’s still managed to make it to every Arizona home football game, bowl game and at least one away game for the last 12 years. Now combining his love of writing with his love of all things sports, Jose is proud and honored to join AllSportsTucson.com as a writer.