Millions of people around the world wanted to meet Oscar De La Hoya, to shake his hand, to slap him on the back, to say they'd been in his presence.
Despite the adoration, De La Hoya said that for years, his only friend was a bottle.
De La Hoya, one of the world's leading boxing promoters and a soon-to-be Hall of Fame fighter, is an alcoholic with 19 months of sobriety to his credit.
As the holidays approach, De La Hoya said that for the first time in a long time, he is truly joyful. A little more than a year after he admitted that he contemplated suicide to ease the pain he felt, De La Hoya could finally say he was happy to be alive.