The 1992 Barcelona Olympics launched the career - and nickname - of one of the best boxers of all time. Oscar De La Hoya, then a scrawny 19-year-old lightweight, captured the imagination of fans everywhere after he won the gold medal in his division to fulfill the dying wish of his mother, who passed away two years earlier due to breast cancer, but not before making her son promise to win an Olympic gold medal. The story was picked up by the media, who anointed De La Hoya “Golden Boy”, a nickname that has stuck to this day.
De La Hoya’s path to the podium was relatively easy until he reached the semifinals. After dispatching Adilson Rosa Silva of Brazil in the first round via RSC-3, he ousted Moses Odion of Nigeria on points, 16-4, in the second round and Tontcho Tontchev of Bulgaria, 16-7 in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, De La Hoya faced Korean Hong Sung-Sik, a bronze medalist in the 1990 Boxing World Cup who reached the last four by knocking out Filipino Ronald Chavez in the quarterfinals. The two dueled fiercely in a close bout with De La Hoya coming through via a close 11-10 decision.
The gold medal bout was rather anticlimactic, a 7-2 win by De La Hoya over Germany’s Marco Rudolph, as he finally won the gold that he promised his mother.
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