For as long as this writer can remember Puerto Rico has produced some of boxing’s biggest names. The small island in the Caribbean with a length of a 110 miles and just 40 miles wide with a population of roughly 3.6 million has for decades been a staple in the boxing world. Puerto Rico has given us great fighters from the likes of Carlos Ortiz, Wilfredo Gomez, Wilfredo Benitez, Ivan Calderon, Felix ‘Tito’ Trinidad to the soon to be retire Miguel Cotto. Boxing is one of the most beloved sports in the island and yet here we are.
When Miguel Cotto retires on December 2nd there is no flag bearer in place, no one for him to pass the torch to so to speak. At one time Felix Verdejo was touted as the next big thing but a motorcycle accident, injuries, and some lackluster performances have at least for now derailed his expectations. Prichard Colon was a possibility but his career came to a tragic end due to suffering too many punches to the back of the head in a fight with Terrel Williams two years ago now, that has left him fighting for his life. [To Help Support The Prichard Colon Foundation Click the link below]
To make matters worst, arguably the top female boxer in the world, Amanda Serrano who is the only Puerto Rican fighter to win titles in 5 different weight divisions, has taken her talents to MMA. It leaves one of the most loyal fan bases in the world wondering who’s next? Who will shutdown the island on fight night?
It’s long been common when a Puerto Rican fighter fights for there to barely be a soul out in the streets because everyone’s glued to a TV proudly watching their fighter. When they come home they get a hero’s welcome at the airport win or lose. Who will be the next Tito Trinidad or a Hector ‘Macho’ Camacho?
Can you picture the boxing world without a Mexico vs Puerto Rico rivalry fight for awhile. The tiny island was hit hard by Hurricane Maria earlier this year and boxing is probably the last thing on people’s mind but hopefully the next big star comes soon. It would go a long way toward helping heal some of the emotional scars left from the natural disaster.
The days of a big fight at the Garden in June on the eve of the Puerto Rican’s Day Parade seem to be on hold. An island rich with its boxing tradition needs a savior and this Puerto Rican hopes he comes sooner rather than later!