Mexican-American boxing legend Oscar De La Hoya was at the Lakeside Golf Club in Burbank on Monday to host his 19th Annual Golf Classic to help raise funds for programs that will benefit the youth and community of East Los Angeles, California.
De La Hoya a native of East LA, always makes sure to give back to his community and was also ecstatic to witness history when fellow Mexican-American boxer Andy Ruiz pulled off an amazing upset stopping British champion Anthony Joshua at Madison Square Garden to make history becoming the first fighter of Mexican descent to win the heavyweight crown.
During an interview with Fino Boxing, De La Hoya shared his thoughts on Ruiz and what it means when an underdog like that rises to the top.
“(Andy) Ruiz shocked the world, he literally shocked the world and became an instant hero over night and I’m extremely happy for him,” De La Hoya said with a smile.
Andy Ruiz being the first fighter of Mexican descent and first Mexican-American heavyweight champion in the history of boxing is something De La Hoya believes will inspire the Mexicans around the world to motivate them to accomplish their dreams.
“It means a lot, it gives a lot of people hope and that is why I was so excited and happy we (Mexican-Americans) never had a heavyweight champion of the world, how cool is that.”
The fighting pride of East Los Angeles knows what it’s like to have pressure from being an overnight sensation and having the championship belt. He held titles from 130 to 160 pounds and advised Ruiz that winning the belt is one thing but maintaining yourself as a champion in and out of the ring is much harder.
“He (Ruiz) now has a target on his back. I wrote him a message, I told him be proud, keep your head up, you did us proud but told him now its time to work because its one thing to be a champion but to maintain yourself as champion is even tougher, and I’m glad he was able to accomplish that.”
For De La Hoya he wholeheartedly agrees that when you beat the man in the division it makes you the man, and he feels Ruiz is now the top dog in the division after upsetting Joshua for the IBF/WBA/WBO belts. He also expressed the notion that Ruiz success in the ring is due to him taking risks and not protecting himself like others who act more like businessmen than fighters.
“Absolutely,” De La Hoya said when asked if Ruiz was the number one heavyweight after beating Joshua. “He has to be, there is no doubt about it! This is what happens when you take risks and you are not a businessman and you put the fight first. He won and now he is going to be showered with offers left and right.”
After Saturday night, Ruiz holds three (IBF/WBA/WBO) of the four major sanctioning body titles, with undefeated American power puncher Deontay Wilder holding the (WBC) fourth. A battle for undisputed will have to wait since Wilder signed a contract to fight Luis Ortiz in a rematch and then Tyson Fury for a second time. Ruiz will either rematch Joshua or defend his title against one of his mandatory challengers.