Diego De La Hoya ready for next phase, aims to create own legacy

At just 21 years of age, De La Hoya has already put together an impressive 11-0 record with seven stoppages since turning pro with Golden Boy in 2013 and believes the next stage of his development is just around the corner.

Jesus Ruiz, who challenged for a world title earlier this year against Leo Santa Cruz, now stands in the way of De La Hoya making a real statement in his twelfth victory and pushing towards bigger honors in the coming year.

The WBC’s vacant Youth title will be on the line when the pair collide in California and the ambitious De La Hoya is pleased with the progress that has seen him participate in such a high-profile bout so soon in his career.

“I think we have worked very well for the past two years and this fight on Friday will show that I am ready for the next level and the next phase of my career,” De La Hoya told World Boxing News.

“I’d like to I think we would be able to end the year undefeated with maybe two more fights this year and end on a high note.”

Opponent Ruiz possesses an extensive C.V consisting of 45 bouts and just five losses, although De La Hoya comes into the fight on the back of a fourth round knockout win over Jose Estrella in July and says if the chance comes he will end the fight early.

“It just depends on how the fight feels. If the opportunity arises for a knockout I am open to it. But I am prepared to go the distance in this fight against Ruiz and that is what I have trained for.”

Fighting with the famous De La Hoya name obviously has its ups and downs for young Diego, who is determined to carve out his own path to glory and hopes to be mixing it with the best in the division in the not too distant future.

“There is pressure to perform at a certain level, but there is also pressure from my opponent as they want to fight me because of my last name. But I feel like I am in a position now to start creating my own legacy and I am not afraid of that.

“I think it all depends on how this year ends off. If it is good, we can start having conversations about tougher fights and titles.”

Weight-wise De La Hoya is content to be fighting at 122lbs, although hasn’t ruled out a move down to 118lbs in order to build through the weights in the same manner as his multi-world title winning promoter and prominent family member.

“For now, we are comfortable fighting at 122, but we are thinking of possibly coming down to 118. That is still up in the air as we concentrate on this fight,” he explained.

“We want to make sure that I am building experience now and then after that talk about what is the best weight,” added De La Hoya.