As Latinos we hold many traditions close to our heart with great pride, such as the love for futbol (soccer), music, and food. The last true love is the love for boxing. Unlike the first three which is well know by non Latinos, boxing is a love affair that many outside the Latino and boxing community might not be aware of.
Growing up I remember my dad letting me stay up late on Saturday night and to watch the Pay-Per-View fights. I enjoyed watching the heavyweight fighter, but fell in love with the welterweight to middleweight boxing matches. Maybe it was the fast pace, or that it lasted twelve rounds, but what ever it was. I was hooked.
Most of the super stars in these weight divisions were Latinos. Fighters like Roberto Duran from Panama, Hector Camacho from Puerto Rico, and Julio Cesar Chavez from Mexico were some of the fighters I grew up watching. They were true warriors with lots of heart; they fought hard, and gave it there all inside the ring.
Over the weekend this story was once again retold as Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., son of legendary boxing champ Julio Cesar Chavez, fought against former WBO Middleweight Champion Sergio Martinez. Through 11 rounds Martinez had his way and was beating the day lights out of Chavez, when out of nowhere Chavez mustard enough strength to put Martinez on the canvas with a few combinations that started with a hard right that cut Martinez’s right eye. Martinez was ahead and could have played it safe, but with a bleeding eye he did not back down. He stood his ground and went toe to toe with Chavez and end up winning the fight. The courage of both fighters made this fight legendary.
In many ways boxing reflects the Latino community: young with lots of energy, trying to create a new path and make a name for ourselves. Maybe we see our own lives through the eyes of these boxers. Fighting hard to make it through the twelve rounds of life. No matter how hard life hits us we get up and continue fighting. Never giving up, but going toe to toe with life, and even if we lose, we know we gave it our all. Everyday warriors fighting through the twelve rounds of life.
Follow Juan Torrico on Twitter @juantorrico