Tonight professional Puerto Rican boxer Orlando Cruz (18-2-1, 9 KOs), former Olympian, announced that he is gay and proud. In statement released to media outlets everywhere he professed: “I’ve been fighting for more than 24 years and as I continue my ascendant career, I want to be true to myself,” said Cruz. “I want to try to be the best role model I can be for kids who might look into boxing as a sport and a professional career. I have and will always be a proud Puerto Rican. I have always been and always will be a proud gay man.”
To my knowledge he is the first boxer to be openly gay while he is still actively fighting. How fans and media types will respond to this new development obviously I am not sure. Nor I am sure why he chose now to make his statement. Regardless of your stance on homosexuality, you have to respect a person for not being afraid to be who they are at all times. The easier path have been to keep this all a secret at least until his professional fighting days were over.
Boxing being such a macho sport one has to wonder how this will have an affect on his career going forward and how he will be received in his native Puerto Rico. One has to wonder if his story will inspire other professional athletes to come forward as well and discuss their sexuality.
Cruz turned pro on December 15, 2000 and his next fight is scheduled for October 19 at the Kissimmee Civic Center in Kissimmee, Florida in which he will defend his WBO NABO title against Jorge Pazos. A win against Pazos should position Cruz for a world title shot. 2000 Olympic teammates included former world champions Miguel Cotto and Ivan Calderon.
Orlando Cruz is sitting down with Telemundo’s Jessi Losada in an exclusive tell-all that will air next week.