Orlando Cruz is no lightweight when it comes to making a statement. After the out featherweight boxer used Facebook to propose to his boyfriend and post a nude photo of himself, he wore rainbow-striped briefs yesterday in Las Vegas when he weighed in for his fight against Mexico’s Orlando Salido for the World Boxing Organization’s featherweight title. Tonight he plans to wear rainbow-striped shorts and pink gloves in the actual — and potentially historic –fight.
The 32-year-old Puerto Rico native tells The Guardian about the struggle he continues to face as his sport’s only openly gay athlete, and even alludes to possible homophobia in his opponent Salido.
“He’s professional with me but Mexicans often have something homophobic in them,” Cruz says. “It’s the machismo culture. He won’t want to lose to a gay man. Salido will be much more aggressive. He will want to make a statement because I’m gay. But he’ll fall into the trap by being macho. I’ll let him come at me, and I’ll show him then. The only language I will use is spoken by my fists. They will do my talking.”
If you’re a Cruz fan vote for him in the 2013 Queerties here.