New York Post By Mark W. Sanchez November 27, 2016
Jabs get lobbed at Orlando Cruz seemingly without end. Especially when he hits the canvas.
The Puerto Rican boxer, who in 2012 became the first active fighter to come out as gay, was stopped in the eighth round by WBO lightweight champion Terry Flanagan on Saturday in Cardiff, Wales. He was also set back on Twitter, where those within his own industry made homophobic remarks at his expense.
Before Cruz, 35, dropped to 25-5-1, getting denied a world title, British pro boxer Frankie Gavin reflected on whom he wanted to win, revealing more about himself and his friends than the boxers between the ropes.
“I have nothing against gay people have gay friends,” Gavin said, as his nearly 50,000 followers waited for the “but” that would come. “But if I lost to a gay lad I would get bantered for life by pals so Flanagan has to win.”
Gavin deleted the tweet as social media venom was directed his way. Peter Fury was not as concerned with the backlash.
The uncle and trainer of former heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, who has problems himself, was unapologetic in dancing on Cruz’s grave as he lost. To Fury, Flanagan’s victory was a victory for heterosexuals.
For Cruz, who has become an icon within the gay community, the cheap shots likely are just more blows that glance off. For four years, he has been an openly gay man within a sport that is sold as a study of unrepentant masculinity.
“Sometimes one, two or three people say, ‘you’re gay, and you’re a boxer… wow,’ Cruz told CNN earlier this week. “Before, when I heard people talking like that, it made me sad. But right now, I teach them. I say, ‘I am gay, but I am a man like you.’ It’s an education.”
(Do youse guys know the story of Emile Grifffith and Benny Paret? It is a famous boxing story. Emilie was gay and in the weigh in for their 1962 fight Benny who was Cuban grabbed his ass and called him a maricon. Emile beat him to death.
This was often a story the old timers used to talk about in Jimmy's Corner this bar I used to hang out in Times Square where the boxing guys always hung out. The concenus was that the referee let it go too long. Griffith had actually been knocked out earlier in the fight but was saved by the bell. Paret had the shit kicked out of him in a couple of other bouts that year and never recovered. This fight led to a lot of changes in the rules about scheduling fights in NY State.
Of course boxing is just about dead now. Like most things it ran a lot better when the Mob ran it. Who knows? Trump has a lot of contacts with made guys. Ya never know.)