Cotto Wins But Why Fight on Eve of the Puerto Rican Parade?
By Ismael Nunez
Last weekend New York City was dedicated to Puerto Rican pride. June 8 to 10 was filled with many activities geared to the PR community. There was the annual 116th Street festival in El Barrio and the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, which is one of the country's largest cultural parades. And on the eve of the parade, Miguel Cotto defended his welterweight crown in Madison Square Garden.
Last Saturday night, Cotto entered the ring with 29-0 record with 24 by knockout, and in title matches he was 9-0 with 8 KO’s. That night he added one more win/KO by knocking his opponent Zab Judah from Brooklyn in 11 rounds.
From the beginning of the fight, Cotto scored many punches to the body. By the 10th round, the hits started to show on Judah. By the 11th round, Cotto came in, landing punch after punch. Referee Arthur Mercante Jr. had no choice but to stop the fight to save Judah from further punishment.
So, the boricua won.
The Puerto Rican community was happy and Cotto participated in this year's Puerto Rican Day Parade. Last year, he did the same thing: he attended the 116th Street festival, fought and then participated in the parade. And many are saying this is becoming an annual tradition for Puerto Rican pride, but what does it mean?
My question is why fight on this specific weekend for Puerto Rican pride?
If it is about Puerto Rican pride, why doesn't Cotto fight in September during “Grito De Lares”? Why not fight in April to remember the birthday month for the father of Puerto Rican Independence Ramon Emeterio Betances. Those are also days to celebrate Puerto Rican pride.
If Cotto wants to make it an annual tradition to fight on the eve of the Puerto Rican Day Parade, then why not use his platform to send a stronger political statement for Puerto Rico?
For instance, when Cotto fights in June, why not let it be known that in the United Nations every year around this time there are hearings on Puerto Rico? Cotto's victory is shown to make the people forget the problems on the island, but it is just as important to remind them at all times of those problems.
Puerto Rican pride is more than a boxing match, a parade and a so-called tradition.
Ismael Nunez is an East Harlem-based freelance writer who contributes to Puerto Rico Sun.