Cruising Whittier Boulevard With Josesito, De La Hoya & Company

MONTEBELLO, CALIF.-An East L.A. band once wrote a song in the 1960s called “Whittier Blvd.,” about a busy main street that runs from the L.A. River to the hills of La Habra and was very popular for cruising.

That group was called Thee Midnighters, who, at one time along with Cannibal & The Headhunters were perhaps the most famous products to emerge from East Los Angeles until a boxer named Oscar De La Hoya came along with a bang.

De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions hosted a media day for Riverside’s Josesito “Mexican Rocky” Lopez, former Olympian Joseph Diaz and golden prospects Diego De La Hoya and Julian Ramirez. It all took place on Tuesday at former world champion Daniel Ponce De Leon’s gym located on Whittier Boulevard.

Lopez headlines the fight card that takes place next week against Mighty Mike Arnoutis at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio. Diaz, Ramirez and De La Hoya will all be entering the ring too. Fox Sports 1 is set to televise it.

Probably near 100 hundred media members and the general public attended the public workout at the Montebello gym. It’s located about two miles from the East L.A. border that used to separate the Latino population from the others. Now the separation has been totally eradicated and Latinos are no longer confined to East L.A. And with the Latino growth so has boxing grown in Southern California.

One of Golden Boy Promotion’s media relations spokespersons said that the New York reception for Brooklyn fight card paled compared to the Montebello affair.

Maybe it’s the curiosity factor that comes with the name De La Hoya?

Lopez would beg to differ.

After all, his last fight against Marcos Maidana sold out the Home Depot Center (now called the StubHub Center) when they fought. It’s very possible. Subsequent fight cards including one with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. did not do nearly as well. The Riverside welterweight Lopez has a heavy following especially after back-to-back-to-back fights with Victor Ortiz, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Maidana.

This time Lopez fights Arnoutis, a former world title challenger from Greece. Expect a big crowd any time Lopez steps foot into the boxing ring. He never shrinks from a fight.

“Jose wants another chance at Maidana,” said trainer Henry Ramirez who also trains Chris Arreola and Jonathan Arrellano. “This is a good fight for him.”

Former U.S. Olympic boxing team member Diaz has been smoking the opposition, especially in his last two fights. The speedy southpaw has ruined a few opponents at the 122-pound weight division.

Ramirez is another 122-pounder who comes from East L.A. He’s under the guidance of manager Joel De La Hoya, who knows a thing or two about the sport. He also manages his cousin Diego De La Hoya. It’s an exciting time for him too.

“We’re pretty confident with Julian and Diego,” said Joel De La Hoya. “They both love to fight.”

Diego De La Hoya, who grew up in Mexicali, said he’s anxious and ready to show what he’s learned under super trainer Joel Diaz.

“He has so much experience and has already taught me a lot,” said the young De La Hoya of his trainer Diaz. “I can’t wait to show it.”

Joel De La Hoya loves his young cousin’s enthusiasm and loves one other thing:

“He explodes with power,” said Joel De La Hoya, almost in a hushed tone.

Don’t miss it.