De La Hoya didn't pull the nickname " Golden Boy" out of the thin air. It was given to him, along with his gold medal, after the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. So when the 26-year-old Mexican wunderkind stepped into the ring to battle Ike Quartey at the Thomas and Mack Arena in Las Vegas on the eve of Valentine's Day 1999, he came prepared to prove the sobriquet given him years earlier wasn't just hype.
Boxing pundits agreed Quartey was De La Hoya's greatest ring challenge to date. Quartey, a 29-year-old former World Boxing Association welterweight champion, was undefeated in 33 prior bouts, and the stoic-looking pro from Ghana was also reputed to have, pound-for-pound, the most
De La Hoya suffered a notable defeat in November, 1991, losing the World Amateur title in Sydney, Australia, to German boxer, Marco Rudolph. He avenged this loss in his celebrated victory over Rudolph at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. Since turning pro in November 1992, with a first-round knockout of Lamar Williams, De La Hoya maintained a perfect record of 29 victories with no defeats going into his match with Quartey.
Along the way, De La Hoya had defeated several would title holders, including Jon-Jon Molina ( 1995); Rafael Ruelas (1995); Genaro Hernandez (1995); Jesse James Leija (1995); Julio Cesar Chavez ( 1996,1998); Miguel angel Gonzalez (1997). Despite this impressive string of victories, some critics frequently said De La Hoya had yet to meet a fighter with his own level of ability who was still in his prime. Ike Quartey clearly met that description. But De La Hoya was up for the challenge. He had unparalleled hand and foot speed and remarkable boxing skills.He wound up going 12 rounds wit Quartey. Both men were knocked down in the sixth round; De La Hoya won the split decision with a dramatic comeback in the last three rounds.
Team De La Hoya
The son of one of the world's most famous Mr. Universe title-holders, bodybuilding's own grand patriarch, Reg Park, mentor to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Jon-Jon knows well the benefits of strength training and conditioning. While growing up in South Africa, the younger Park was himself a world-class athlete representing Great Britain at the Montreal Olympic Games where he was a contender for several swimming medals. He later Instituted the first strength training program for South African swimmers
he could become stronger by adding weights to the type of motion used in the pool. Remembering how effective that had been, Jon-Jon Park designed a machine for De La Hoya that would simulate uppercuts. This preserved his shoulders and kept them stable, while improving the strength in the outlying areas of his torso. Improving condition and building strength within the areas of the obliques, serratus and intercostals, the machine has been a large part of his training for protection in those areas. "I create specific stress, and allow him to gradually, subtly, adapt to that over a period of minutes within a workout, a period of days within a week or month, and so on, " Park explains.
Redford and Lesley-Ann Warren. He facilitates
the day to day operations at the camp. "I make sure Oscar is eating on schedule, taking his supplements and getting his workouts in on specified days," says Takano. Otherwise , the whole system breaks down and we don't accomplish the goals we're trying to achieve."
engaging in brutal levels if interval training with some weight training mixed in. He did this all on a diet of cheeseburgers. (Now his favorite food is sushi). In short, De La Hoya was overtrained, exhausted, beginning to develop a shoulder injury and losing muscle mass.
Alcazar then expressed concern that Oscar may add too much muscle, hampering his ability to make the weight cutoff. I explained that the program planned for Oscar would emphasize the development of sports skills, rather than muscle hypertrophy which is of more concern to a bodybuilder. Any initial strength gains made by a person new to resistance training are more the result of increased neuromuscular efficiency, rather than actual muscle gains. As a result, Oscar was in no danger of putting on too much muscle; it would be a tightly controlled situation. In addition, the nutritional program I planned for De La Hoya would also help him maintain his weight in the desired category.
A concern about losing vital hand speed also came up. To assuage these fears, I provided scientific studies showing that boxers who added weight training to their regimes displayed augmented punch velocity and increased punching endurance. Few people realize that punching power is derived mainly from the lower body, and increasing strength in that area makes even a power-puncher such as Oscar that much better. One Russian study that examined the biomechanics of the straight right jab punch found that 76 percent of the power behind the punch came from the torso and lower body, with only 24 percent derived from the arms. Another Russian study found that most boxing punches begin with a nerve impulse in the big toe of the supporting leg as the fighter shifts his weight before throwing the punch. I believe one of the primary advantages of weight training for boxers lies in injury prevention. The rapid, powerful, repetitive movements typical in boxing take a toll on the fighter's connective tissues, such as tendons and ligaments. For example , a 10-year study of injuries sustained during sparring, training, and competition at the U.S. Olympic Training center showed that upper body injuries involving the hand, wrists, shoulders, and elbows were most common among boxers, followed by lower extremity injuries. Oscar, who had never previously lifted weights, was already showing signs of strain in areas such as his lower back and shoulders. Without a preventive and strengthening program, these injuries were bound to get worse. Oscar was particularly prone to such injuries, since he has a light bone structure for his 5'10" frame. Resistance exercise is is know to increase bone density.
The program designed for Oscar was highly sports-specific. several exercises were designed to mimic actual punching movements, with varying speeds of movement to increase punching power. Certain muscles were emphasized over others because of their utility in the ring. Such muscle groups included neck, forearms, abdominals and shoulders. Strengthening exercises were also included to bolster Oscar's previous muscle weaknesses in the lower back an legs. Increased neck strength is especially important for boxers.The thick neck girths of fighters like Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield provide testimony that these men have not neglected neck training. A strong neck helps to absorb the impact of head punches, and serves to decrease the rapid acceleration, deceleration, and turning forces that often result in a knockout. Training the abdominal muscles serves to cushion body blows to the cluster of nerves located in the solar plexus area. A strong punch to this section of the torso can render a fighter powerless quite rapidly."
build up a buffer system so De La Hoya gets an increase in anaerobic threshold. That way, if he's throwing a lot of punches, he doesn't get as tired. the intent is to maximize the anaerobic energy cycle (Kreb's Cycle)
don't think I'm the perfect fighter at this point, no matter what my record is. A lot of people in the boxing world call me 'the best fighter, pound for pound', but personally, I don't think I'm there yet." He sees himself comfortable as a junior middleweight, a level he'll move up to in September. "I think that's the weight I should be naturally, where I'll feel strong and healthy. At that weight, I'll call myself the "pound-for-pound champion".