By David A. Avila
Just because you’re related doesn’t mean you automatically have the same physical gifts but Diego De La Hoya comes close.
The cousin of Oscar De La Hoya returns to downtown Los Angeles to bring his attack fighting style to the Southern California fight crowd.
De La Hoya (13-0, 7 KOs) faces Tijuana’s Arturo Badillo (21-9, 19 KOs) at the Belasco Theater on Friday Feb. 19. Estrella TV will televise the Golden Boy Promotions main fight card. Ring TV will show the earlier portion.
Ever since his pro debut De La Hoya has exhibited that something extra that very few prizefighters possess. It’s not just the name but the ability to grab attention.
In his pro debut several years ago in Las Vegas, it was De La Hoya who silenced a seemingly uninterested crowd and exploded in the first round with flashing fists and speed. That night, against a Puerto Rican opponent with a dozen fights, he electrified the crowd with ability the others on the fight card could not equal. He’s a showstopper.
De La Hoya, a super bantamweight, won by stoppage and the crowd was impressed that night in 2013.
“Joel Diaz (trainer) instilled that in him and he’s moving him at a great pace,” said Joel De La Hoya, cousin and manager of Diego. “I think he had a great year last year.”
No fight is a sure thing and though Badillo has five straight losses, the Tijuana prizefighter packs a wallop and has 19 knockouts in 21 wins. That’s serious firepower.
De La Hoya needs to impress. Though he’s the younger cousin to the president of Golden Boy Promotions, it’s not a guarantee of anything.
“I can circumvent by going straight to the promoter but they’re not doing me any favors. I have to negotiate with them and everything else this job entails,” said Joel De La Hoya. “By no means whatsoever do I get what I want.”
One target is a place on the Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Amir Khan fight card on May 7 in Las Vegas. But an impressive victory on Friday is necessary.
“I’m hoping I can get him on the Canelo card in May. We actually asked for 10 rounds defending his (WBC Youth) belt,” said Joel De La Hoya. “There will be so many eyes on it.”
Many eyes are riveted on young Diego De La Hoya right now too.
Joet Gonzalez, a 122-pounder from Los Angeles, has shown serious fighting skills too in a weight division in which Golden Boy Promotions has an abundance of talent.
Gonzalez is managed by Frank Espinoza who has another super bantamweight on the verge of a world title bid in Jessie Magdaleno. Could Gonzalez be next in line for a title bid?
Facing Gonzalez will be Mexico’s Jose Cen Torres who has five straight losses but against top tier prospects. In July 2014, Torres gave Carlos Carlson a spirited battle in Ontario, California. It ended in a majority decision for Carlson.
Super bantamweight tourney
Golden Boy has a ton of talented super bantamweight prospects. Could a tournament be around the corner?
Along with Gonzalez there’s De La Hoya, Manuel Avila and several others.
Joel De La Hoya says it’s a strong possibility.
“I asked Robert Diaz to get them all on a card for a tournament. He likes the idea. Oscar loved it too,” said Joel De La Hoya. “It’s a good way to get recognition.”
Do you think Alvarez vs Golovkin will fight in 2016?