Boxing legend Oscar De La Hoya is known for his skills in the ring, but the champ’s killer instincts have transformed him into a business-savvy entrepreneur.

The Hall of Fame boxer may be world famous now, but he will be the first to tell you his journey started in East Los Angeles.

“My father and my mother, they came out to this country for a better life, basically,” 48-year-old De La Hoya told KTLA. “They stationed themselves in East L.A. I was born here. I’m very proud of it.”

When he goes into a boxing ring, De La Hoya always carries both an American flag and a Mexican flag.

“I was always a very very proud American because there is no country better than the U.S., that’s for sure,” he says. “But I’m just very proud of my roots.”

The East L.A. kid went on to create an empire beyond the ring, with his company Golden Boy Promotions, an American boxing and mixed martial arts promotion firm based in L.A., and the Oscar De La Hoya Foundation, which is dedicated to helping underprivileged youth in the community that he grew up in. He is also involved in lucrative real estate deals.

“I have to pinch myself every day,” De La Hoya says. “Truthfully, I feel like this is all a dream. … This kid from East L.A., dreams do come true.”

De La Hoya, who has been retired for over a decade, was scheduled to make a comeback on Sept. 11 in a highly anticipated boxing match against UFC champion Vitor Belfort at the Staples Center. But he announced that he had tested positive for coronavirus, despite being fully vaccinated, and would not be back in the ring anytime soon after all.

“Preparing for this comeback has been everything to me over the last months, & I want to thank everyone for their tremendous support,” he wrote on Twitter, adding that he was hospitalized. “[I] am confident I will be back in the ring before the year is up.”