Lem Satterfield

Cruz has Cotto’s support, says advisor

 

LAS VEGAS — Miguel Cotto’s legal advisor, Gaby Penagaricano, said that the Puerto Rican three-division titlewinner supports countryman and featherweight contender Orlando Cruz, who declared himself “a proud gay man” last October.

Cruz has apparently angered some Puerto Ricans with the the wardrobe he intends to wear into the ring for Saturday night’s bout with veteran Orlando Salido for the WBO’s vacant belt at Thomas & Mack Center.

Comprised of a sleeveless shirt and matching trunks, the outfit is modeled after the Puerto Rican flag’s red, white and blue stripes, but with the rainbow addition of separating green, yellow and orange patterns on the back meant to represent Cruz’s support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LBGT) social movement community.

Cruz will also wear pink gloves in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Supplied by Everlast, a photo of the outfit was posted on the Spanish Face Book website of Top Rank, where it was the targeted by some disparaging comments from fans who believe that Cruz defaced the Puerto Rican flag.

“I don’t see anything wrong with it. I support Orlandito and all of what he’s doing with it.”I think that it’s great,” said Pengaricano. “I think that his supporting both the Puerto Rican flag and the flag of his community is great. He’s a great person and a great guy, and I’m here, among other things, to support him.”

A 32-year-old who represented his country in the 2000 Olympics, Cruz will face  Salido in a bout that will happen as part of the Tim Bradley-Juan Manuel Marquez card on HBO Pay Per View.

Cruz still plans to wear the uniform in part to honor of the late Emile Griffith, a former welterweight and middleweight champion whose own sexuality had come to represent a major part of his legacy.

Cruz defended his decision on Wednesday during a telephone interview with Carlos Narvaez of the Puerto Rican newspaper El Vocero in the press room of The Wynn Hotel.

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“I respect the Puerto Rican flag. There were no bad intentions in the design of the trunks. I feel bad about the situation and I don’t deny my flag,” said Cruz. “I will always hold my flag high. I apologize to all the fans of Puerto Rico. It was not my intention to cause an uproar. I will be with Puerto Rico and my flag all the way to my death.”

Penagaricano said that he expects similar reaction to his own from Cotto, who is scheduled to arrive in Las Vegas on Thursday to meet with Top Rank officials to discuss his future in the wake of last weekend’s third-round knockout of junior middleweight rival Delvin Rodriguez.

“I think that Miguel will feel the same, because they’re friends,” said Penagaricano. “They trained together on the Olympic team that went to the 2000 Olympic games in Australia. They’re very good friends.”

 

 

Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Lem Satterfield can be reached at lemuel.satterfield@gmail.com

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