Orlando Cruz becomes the first openly gay boxer after coming out before his October 19 fight. (Courtesy EMC events)

Opponent of first openly gay boxer: “It doesn’t matter that he’s gay, he’s a great boxer”

The sports world was buzzing after Orlando Cruz, a Puerto Rican boxer and top featherweight, announced that he was gay, becoming the first openly gay active boxer in history. So what did his opponent have to say, in a sport where verbal attacks, bravado and trash talk can be the norm?

“The fact that he came out as being gay doesn’t take away his merits as a great boxer,” says Jorge Pazos at Orlando International Airport today in a video posted by EMC events. “He has two hands and two legs to move with and it’s going to be a great fight.”

Pazos said he’s ready for the fight on October 19 after eight weeks of preparation. Cruz, whose record is 18-2-1, 9 KOs and the number four ranked featherweight by the World Boxing Organization, could be fighting for the featherweight title if he beats Pazos.

“I want to try to be the best role model I can be for kids who might look into boxing as a sport and a professional career,” Cruz told USA Today when he came out.

“I have and will always be a proud Puerto Rican. I have always been and always will be a proud gay man.”

RELATED: Orlando Cruz comes out as first openly gay boxer

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