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De La Hoya, Boxers Exchange Friendly Fisticuffs on USO Tour

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A group of fighters, led by 10-time world champion Oscar de la Hoya, met our nation’s uniformed fighters in a match that both couldn’t have enjoyed more by all parties involved. De la Hoya and three of his protégés doled out boxing tips and back slaps to our service men and women serving overseas during a week-long tour that swung through the Middle East.

Although this was de la Hoya’s first USO tour, it becomes another in a long line of charitable gestures and community building, which includes the Los-Angeles based Oscar de la Hoya High School, the Cecilia Gonzalez de la Hoya Cancer Center and the Oscar de la Hoya Children's Medical Center, both located at the White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles.

And this visit to our nation’s armed forces seemed to resonate with the champ.

“As a professional boxer I know what it’s like to have your mind and body pushed to the limits, and can relate to how our troops must feel,” de la Hoya said. “The difference is when they are out here fighting for us, they don’t get to break between rounds or rest between fights, as they are on call and ready to defend our country at a moment’s notice. This USO tour is an eye-opening and very humbling experience for me. I can’t believe what sacrifices these guys are making and I only hope they know how much I appreciate their service.

"Going on this USO tour and spending time with the servicemen and women who protect our country was a life-changing experience.  You don’t realize until you see it firsthand what it means to be a participant in our military efforts and the sacrifices each one of them is making to fight and protect our freedom.” 

De la Hoya also brought rising fighters from his Golden Boy Promotions corps to help spread goodwill from home and give the guys some real world perspective.

"I’m a fighter, I get paid to take a hit but I’ve met some ‘real’ fighters out here on my USO tour,” said Cincinnati native Adrien Broner (19-0 record with 16 knockouts). “I have to admit, compared to what I have learned our troops go through every day I think my kind of toughness is different from theirs. I don’t think I know anyone as tough as they are."

Bradywine, Md., native Seth Mitchell (a 20-0-1 record with 13 knockouts) was in awe of the troops’ contributions.

“I have nothing but respect for our men and women in uniform and I thank the USO for giving me the opportunity to go out and show them my appreciation. So far, this tour has been awesome and I can’t wait to return back home and tell everyone about it.”

Brooklyn, N.Y.’s Danny Jacobs (21-1 record with 18 knockouts) knows he’ll carry the memories gained from the trip for a lifetime.

"Man, what an experience! I didn’t know what to expect on this USO tour but now that I’ve been here for a few days, all I can say is ‘WOW!’ I’ve met some unforgettable people that are doing so much over here and I’m looking forward to meeting even more."

And as the leader of his merry band of boxers, de la Hoya strived to deliver some smiles and laughs to the groups of soldiers that left such an indelible mark on them.

"I hope that we were able to make a difference in the lives of the troops we met even for a short period of time. I am dedicated to continuing to help the USO with their mission of uplifting the spirits of our nation’s troops, share my experiences and encourage others to support our brave service men and women in any way they can.”

2011 Oscar de la Hoya Tour

2011 Oscar de la Hoya Tour to the Middle East, USO Photo by Steve Manuel

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Watch Oscar de la Hoya's interview with CNN following his USO tour. Footage is courtesy of CNN.com:

 

See a video interview with Oscar de la Hoya, heavyweight contender Seth Mitchell and some training footage, courtesy of DVIDS.net:

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