YOU ARE HERE: Burbank HomeCollections

Oscar De La Hoya a hit at Boys & Girls Club

Boxing champ's visit a delight to the young crowd.

November 22, 2011|By Jeff Tully,
  • Ten-time World Champion boxer Oscar De La Hoya gives a high five to Anthony Meza, 2, with his father James Meza, at the Boys and Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley for an AT&T press conference on Tuesday, November 22, 2011. (Raul Roa/Staff Photographer)
Ten-time World Champion boxer Oscar De La Hoya gives a…

A 10-time boxing champion, Oscar De La Hoya had to be mean and unrelenting in the ring. But deep down, the athlete has a soft side.

A product of youth programs while growing up on the mean streets of East Los Angeles, De La Hoya is more than happy to give up his time and lend his support to the type of programs that helped shape his life. If it has to do with helping young boys and girls, De La Hoya can’t resist.

“When it comes to helping kids, I am a real softy,” De La Hoya said. “As soft as they come.”

De La Hoya was talking to a captivated group of youngsters Tuesday at the Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and the Greater East Valley, which also serves Glendale kids. In a promotion for AT&T U-verse Espanol, De La Hoya gave the club’s members some sound advice about values, working toward goals and striving to succeed.


De La Hoya said because he was given guidance and found a place of refuge at the East L.A. Boys & Girls Club when he was growing up, he is motivated to give back.

“Whether it’s the positive or the negative, it’s very important for me to pass on that information because life is not a straight road into prosperity,” he said. “Instead, life throws you curveballs, and you have to know how to deal with it, get off the canvas and fight even harder. That’s America, and that’s what living the American dream is all about, and that’s what I’m living now.

“When you send that message and tell these kids that you can succeed and you can make something of your life, that’s a very important message to me. And if I can send that message out and somebody picks it up, then I’m doing my job.”

Although he has enjoyed a successful career as a boxer and now a business executive, De La Hoya said he has never forgotten the values he learned at the Boys & Girls Club.

“It is places like the Boys & Girls Club that gives us the opportunity to look ahead and to prepare for our future.” he said. “I had a place like this, and it meant so much to me. It really opened the door for me and gave me the opportunity to go somewhere every single day after school and interact with other kids and just have fun.

“It kept me occupied, and it kept me off the streets. It also gave me the pride in thinking that I am somebody, and I can become what I want to be.”

Burbank Leader Articles Burbank Leader Articles