You have to give boxer Orlando Cruz a lot of credit. The man has guts. Orlando Cruz made history, not in the ring where he is used to fighting his way for recognition, but by becoming the first professional boxer to come out of the closet and declare himself gay. He fought off his biggest challenger, fear.
The 31-year-old Puerto Rican native told USA Today this past Wednesday that he's a "proud gay man."
I'm here in the island and the feedback has been quite interesting. The 45 and older group of men that I have asked are majority critical of Orlando. Some went as far as to say that he should quit boxing and go full time into his gay life (like if being gay was a skill, or something separate from his being?).
The younger 18-35 year old's that I spoke to had no real opinion. Some said that he had been boxing and being gay did not affect his ability to fight. Some stated that now he will probably fight even better than his present 18-2-1 record because he has taken something off his back. Another told me that he might get more knockouts now because he might have more to prove now to show that being openly gay does not mean he can't fight. He presently has nine knockouts, so we shall see.
Whatever Orlando does in the ring from now on he would never face an opponent bigger than the fear that he must have been carrying for so long. I personally respect anyone who faces his or her greatest fear and deals with it openly. For Orlando to come out of the closet in a sport that is so physical and perceived as so "manly" he has opened the door for many other athletes that might be gay, but have been afraid to come out of the closet.
We shall see. In the meantime, Orlando Cruz, a Puerto Rican boxer has placed himself in the history books forever. Like it or not, you have to give him a lot of credit.
His next fight is Oct. 19 against Jorge Pazos in Kissimmee, Florida. I suspect that fight might before a sell out crowd.C