1. MADISON SQUARE GARDEN hosted a festive treat for fight fans on December 15, 1996. Topping the bill was young Oscar De La Hoya, defending his WBO lightweight belt against Jesse James Leija while another star-in-the-making, Arturo Gatti, was taking part in his first world title fight against IBF super-featherweight boss, Tracy Harris Patterson.
2. THE handsome image of De La Hoya was all over New York. “He’ll charm you with his looks and harm you with his hooks,” was the snappy line on the fight posters. The 22-year-old ‘Golden Boy’ was certainly confident but some wondered if he might have been too confident. The 1992 Olympic champion already had his next two fights agreed, culminating with a May 6 superfight with Mexican hero, Julio Cesar Chavez.
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