Orlando Cruz is anxious to starting training and getting ready for his fight on Friday night after coming out the closet and letting the world know that he is gay.
Cruz, who has a record of 18-2-1 with nine knockouts, will fight at Civic Center outside Orlando, Fla., against Jorge Pazos, who has a record of 20-4 with 13 knockouts. If Cruz wins the bout he will have an opportunity at the 126-pound title shot.
Cruz wants to be recognized by more than the first boxer to come out in the boxing arena, he wants to use the fight against Pazos as a springboard to get to the world champion level.
“I do feel a little bit of pressure because of all of this,” Cruz said.”The first few days were like a bucket of cold water (dumped on me), but it is something that I had to do. I’m not doing it for ratings. I answer all the questions now so that I can then concentrate on my career, which is what’s important for me.”
Since Cruz has announced his homosexuality the earlier this, he has done dozens of interviews and received support and praise from fans and the sports community.
The 31-year-old Cruz has spent the week cutting down his weight to make the 126-pound weight limit against Mexico’s Pazos.
Cruz’s announcement has received widespread attention in the boxing world and the sports world. Miguel Cott, Juan Manuel Lopez and Wilfredo Vaquez Jr. are expected to attend the bout in support of Cruz. Cotto has even texted Cruz to give him encouraging words.
Even Pazos praised his opponent’s courage in deciding to make his announcement.
“I have to win whether he is gay or not, but I don’t think about that,” Pazos said. “He made a decision, and I respect him for it. That is outside the ring. It is different inside the ring.”
Cruz has only fought twice in 32 months since losing consecutive bouts to Cornelius Lock and Daniel Ponce De Leon. After two straight knockout victories, Cruz is the heavy favorite and is expected to handle Pazos on Friday.
“I’m just anxious for Friday to get here and to hear the bell sound,” Cruz said.