Today is 20th Anniversary of Oscar Night at Sun Bowl
On June 13th 1998, Oscar De La Hoya headlined one of the most memorable sporting events in El Paso history. The Golden Boy attracted more than 45,000 fans in the Sun Bowl to defend his welterweight title against French contender Patrick Charpentier. It was a star-studded night, and the football stadium on the UTEP campus resembled the Las Vegas strip as thousands of women dressed up to catch a glimpse of the undefeated boxing champ.
The outdoor boxing show was televised on HBO, but the network was worried that the windy conditions earlier in the evening would jeopardize the main event. Fortunately for the 45,000-plus in attendance, the winds died down and the fights went on as scheduled. The undercard featured then undefeated Stevie Johnston lose his WBC lightweight title to Mexico's Cesar Bazan in a split decision. The two fought again eight months later and Johnston recaptured the belt in another split decision.
By the time De La Hoya entered the ring, the loud crowd screamed in delight and the stadium was deafening. The champ needed less than three rounds to win by TKO over his inferior opponent, and the fans left happy at the Sun Bowl. It was a one-sided fight that De La Hoya dominated from the opening bell. I have many lasting memories from Oscar Night at the Sun Bowl, including the large crowd of people that gathered to watch the pre-fight press conference, Lou Ferrigno's appearance, and Oscar's post fight comments to the fans in attendance.
There is a terrific piece written by Matt Aguilar in the El Paso Times for the 20th anniversary of the fight and the video below showing the seven minutes and fifty seconds of boxing until referee Laurence Cole stopped the fight.