1 Julio Cesar Chavez I
Although De La Hoya fought a faded Chavez not once but twice in his career, it was their first fight, in June 1996, which announced Oscar as the new star of American boxing. A fourth-round stoppage also landed him the WBC super-lightweight title.
2 Fernando Vargas
Fierce rival Vargas did all he could to get under De La Hoya’s skin ahead of their meeting in September 2002 but was no match for the ‘Golden Boy’ on the night. Outboxed and broken up, Vargas was eventually put out of his misery in round 11.
3 Ike Quartey
Armed with one of the best jabs in boxing, Ghana’s Quartey gave De La Hoya all he could handle in February 1999, but it still wasn’t enough to tilt the scorecards in his favour after 12 rounds.
4 Rafael Ruelas
Ruelas and De La Hoya fought in a WBC/IBF lightweight unification in May 1995 and it took De La Hoya just two rounds to go home with what he brought to the fight, as well as the IBF belt Ruelas brought to the fight.
5 Pernell Whitaker
Many believed Whitaker, 33 at the time, should have got the decision the night he faced De La Hoya in April 1997, but, alas, ‘Sweet Pea’ was rarely ever given the benefit of the doubt in close fights.
6 Genaro Hernandez
Hernandez was unbeaten in 33 fights when he met De La Hoya in September 1995 but was bloodied and decided to eventually quit after six rounds in the company of the ‘Golden Boy’.
7 Hector Camacho
De La Hoya thrashed an ageing Camacho in September 1997, in defence of his WBC welterweight title, and did so just six months after Camacho had done a similar job on the shell of ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard in Atlantic City.
8 John John Molina
De La Hoya was 16-0 when he met Molina in February 1995 and was taken the full 12 rounds for the first time by the crafty Puerto Rican. Though Molina came up short in this WBO lightweight title fight, he taught De La Hoya plenty.
9 Jesse James Leija
In this December ’95 defence of his WBO lightweight title, De La Hoya impressively walked through a former world champion in Leija who would go on to have a very good career in his own right.
10 Miguel Angel Gonzalez
Gonzalez, undefeated at 41-0 at the time, faced De La Hoya in a WBC super-lightweight title fight in January 1997 and could do nothing to counteract the champion’s greater speed and intelligence, losing a unanimous decision after 12 rounds.