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Boxing is one of the most popular sports in Puerto Rico. Puerto Ricans are drawn to the sport of boxing for several reasons. Firstly, it is a sport in which they excel at and have received international acclaim for their boxers. Secondly, because of the nature of the sport, nationality provides no extra help in the ring, and Puerto Rican boxers can compete as individuals fighting for their country (8). In essence, their boxers are the closest thing to warriors their island has, and this in turn brings nationalistic pride when their boxers go head to head with boxers from places like the United States and Russia. Given the amount of attention placed on these fighters, a victory for a Puerto Rican boxer gives the opportunity for the boxer to speak out on his country and his love for it, as opposed to just his accomplishments in the ring.
Felix Trinidad is the embodiment of a Puerto Rican athlete. "Tito", as he is commonly called, is a ruthless fighter in the ring and useless his celebrity status to express the love he has for his country. Another up and coming boxer in Puerto Rico is Miguel Coto. If Trinidad is the past and the present, Coto represents the future.
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Felix "Tito" Trinidad
Olympic boxing has put Puerto Rico in the world map. Puerto Rico is known as a serious contender in boxing, always seen as capable of obtaining a medal. Boxing has been the most successful sport in the Olympics for Puerto Rico . It has won 6 medals of which one has been silver and five other bronze medals. The first Olympic medal for Puerto Rico was in 1948, won by Juan Venegas in London . One of the most successful Olympics years was in 1984 where PR earned 2 medals in boxing, including a sliver medal by Luis Ortiz.
Olympic boxing is very important to Puerto Ricans because it is an international competition and it proves that we are capable to compete in a world competition and excel at it. Olympic boxing is a statement to the world saying that even though we may be a small island with only 4 million inhabitants we are still strong people and are not to be overlooked by the world.
Puerto Rican Boxing Legislation
Puerto Ricans know the importance of boxing to their country and appreciate everything that the native fighters have done in their careers to represent Puerto Rico and put it in the world map. Boxing is so important to this country that the government approved a law that will provide a pension and other assistance to down-and-out boxers from the island in 1996 (9). This pension includes $600 a month and access to a social service program administered by the Puerto Rican boxing commission. This program has helped champion boxers like Wilfred Benitez, who has chronic traumatic encephalopathy and is facing financial troubles. "It was the least we could do," said commonwealth senator Ramon Luis Rivera Jr., chairman of the committee that drafted the bill. "
"He put Puerto Rico on the map. Now he is sick and needs our help," said Rivera Jr. This bill shows how much Puerto Ricans appreciate the sport of boxing and are grateful for all it's Puerto Rican boxers. It is comparable to governments of other countries that provide pensions for those in the armed services that suffer injurious in combat. It is a big step for Puerto Rican boxers that devote a lifetime of training and hard work for the chance to represent their country in an international match.
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