Sports Opinion & Analysis

Coming Out Swinging

In Boxing on October 22, 2012 at 9:50 pm

On Saturday, boxer Orlando Cruz won his match against Jorge Pazos.

Earlier in the month, he announced he was gay, and in doing so, became the sport’s first openly gay boxer.

If it doesn’t get better, train like Orlando Cruz.

Cruz (19-2-1, nine KOs) is the fourth highest ranked featherweight in the World Boxing Organization (WBO). With his announcement, he also became one of the higher profile athletes currently active in their sport to reveal their sexual orientation. He revealed he was gay, and did so while participating in a sport that is infamous for its machismo and violence. It’s brutality and intolerance.

When you think of athletes of the past who broke down barriers, Joe Louis, Jackie Robinson and Roberto Celemente instantly come to mind. Cruz isn’t in that kind of company yet, but that’s only because his career in no way matches those of Louis’s, Robinson’s or Clemente’s. Those men not only broke down barriers, but were champions of their sport.

But with Cruz’s victory comes an opportunity to perhaps participate in higher profile matches. And with higher profile matches, comes the chance to fight for a featherweight title. Think about this: Cruz has only lost twice in his professional career which began on December 15, 2000. In twelve years, he has only two loses and one tie, while racking up 19 victories to his name.

One day Cruz will fight for a title. He is a rising star in boxing, and is quickly becoming a hero in his native Puerto Rico, and while he’s already an inspiration for expressing who he is, when the day comes that he does fight for a belt, he will not just be an inspiration, but will become a legend.

And when that happens, you can tell your grandkids, “I remember when…”

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