Oscar De La Hoya
At the 1992 Summer Olympics, in Barcelona, Spain, De La Hoya was widely expected to do well, but he never got overconfident. In the first bout, he went up against Cuban Julio Gonzalez, a four-time World Amateur Junior Lightweight champion. De La Hoya, the underdog, dispatched him in a 7-2 decision. The next victory, against the Korean champion, was closer: 11-10. The last match, against Marco Rudolph of Germany, actually turned out to be surprisingly easy, and with a 7-2 decision, De La Hoya had become a gold medallist, the only American boxer to win gold at Barcelona. At the medals ceremony, De La Hoya carried two flags. "The American flag was for my country; the Mexican flag was for my heritage," he told Davidson. The newly christened "Golden Boy" returned to a hero's welcome in East Los Angeles, where he paid tribute to his mother by laying the medal on her grave.
Shortly thereafter he turned pro, hiring the management team of Robert Mittleman and Steve Nelson. On November 23, 1992, his first professional match against Lamar Williams ended in a first round knockout. In December of that year, he repeated the same feat against Cliff Hicks. Over the next few months, he fought Paris Alexander, Curtis Strong, Jeff Mayweather, and Mike Grable. Only Grable proved able to go the distance against De La Hoya, who nonetheless knocked him down seven times in their eight-round match. He finished out the year with knockouts against Frank Avelar, Troy Dorsey, Renaldo Carter, Angelo Nunez, and Narcisco Alenzuela. And in December of that year, he became his own manager, dismissing Mittelman and Nelson.