An HBO Documentary Reveals The Troubled Side of a 'Golden' Boxer
A Quick TV Review
Growing up convinced to become an Olympic champion after inspiration from fellow East Los Angeles native Paul Gonzalez's Los Angeles 1984 boxing gold, Oscar de la Hoya's own career in the ring took off with his own gold at Barcelona's 1992 Summer Games.
HBO's The Golden Boy, released this summer, reviews that history. But the documentary is probably best viewed as an exercise for de la Hoya "to say it out loud, to free myself".
The "it" he refers to appears to be the 'original sin' of his career: allowing the false premise of that media persona to take place - his mother offering a 'dying wish' being a lie. And, ill-able to reconcile that and his sudden fame with the demands of trying to live up to the hype and image of his public persona, de la Hoya has since struggled with relationships and maturity.
Sports fans paying attention over the years, especially between the mid-90s and the mid-2000s, will know that "The Golden Boy" boxer hasn't had a smooth and clean image: assault allegations, substance abuse issues, high-profile relationship missteps, and a very publicly awkward revealing of his partying.
The Golden Boy offers even more rub off his 'golden' shine: frustrations from those close to him and estrangement, to say the least, with multiple children. Most importantly, de la Hoya's own voice is key: his acknowledgement of his flailing. The Golden Boy - and 'The Golden Boy' himself - might not leave us confident of consistently positive steps forward by the documentary's end, but, through the baring of his travails, it is a chance for him to start "to live in reality".