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Eastern Regional Report- Oct. 5, 2012

By Alec Kohut


So Orlando Cruz is Gay…

Featherweight Orlando Cruz is gay and, by announcing that publicly on Wednesday, added an important voice to not only to the cause of gay rights but human rights. In one of the last bastions of bigotry and overt homophobia, Orlando Cruz has taken a stand that will be met with both acclaim and indignation.
In a sport so influential in the history of civil rights, we should embrace Cruz’s leadership and realize that the outdated and hurtful stereotypes of homosexuals are wrong and must be abandoned. Just as Joe Louis forced many to acknowledge a black man can be a true American, Cruz forces us to realize that a tough, former Olympian can indeed be gay.

Of course there will be many who will be uncomfortable and downright offended by Cruz coming out. They will almost undoubtedly hide behind the Bible and denounce homosexuality as a sin, just as those before them used that same Bible to justify their hate and cruelty of blacks. Always remember, the Ku Klux Klan considers itself a Christian organization.
Given the advancement of our society toward equal rights for homosexuals in just the past 25 years, those who stand opposed to marriage equality and the rights of gays will soon look just as foolish as those who stood against interracial marriage and blacks attending schools with whites.
I support Orlando Cruz and his coming out and hope it will serve to bring more of us toward the idea of equal rights and respect for all. For once, I can honestly say I actually agree with Kevin Iole at Yahoo! Sports in stating Orlando Cruz is indeed a hero.

Rodriguez: Why the Kid Gloves for this Prospect?

For years now, Edwin Rodriguez has been touted as America’s best super middleweight prospect. It’s been so long, if fact, it seems Rodriguez may soon grow out of the 168-pound division. By Saturday night, at the Foxwoods Casino, Rodriguez had added 20 pounds since the previous day’s weigh-in and held a 10-pound advantage over his opponent, Jason Escalera.
To no one’s surprise, Rodriguez easily handled the overmatched grocery store assistant manager Escalera, finally stopping him in the eighth. What is surprising, however, is the way Rodriguez is being protected and moved very slowly compared to other Lou DiBella prospects. From Willie Monroe Jr. and Steven Martinez and again Saturday night with Alex Perez and Luis Orlando Del Valle, DiBella does not simply build his prospects records with spoon-fed opposition.
Yet that’s exactly how Rodriguez is being brought along. At 22-0 (15), his stiffest challenges have been against glorified club fighters Don George and Will Rosinsky, building a résumé very similar to an Al Haymon-“advised” Golden Boy prospect. After the win, Rodriguez “called out” former World Middleweight Champion Kelly Pavlik but don’t expect that to happen. Pavlik is looking at securing a big payday against the likes of Andre Ward or Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Rodriguez is not ready for a step-up of that magnitude.
Perhaps DiBella knows Rodriguez is a limited fighter but still commands a decent license fee from the premium networks and is not ready to give up on his goose laying golden eggs just yet.
Did anyone else find it strange that the HBO commentating crew was adamant that Vic Darchinyan -Del Valle should have been stopped, even having Max Kellerman ask Del Valle’s cornerman if they were thinking of stopping the fight? That said, they made little argument during the Rodriguez-Escalera beatdown to stop that carnage.

Alex Perez Stopped in HBO Debut…

Welterweight Alex Perez’s fight against Canadian Antonin Decarie is the perfect example of the point I made about Lou DiBella in previous paragraphs. DiBella wasn’t going to wait until Perez was 20-0 before getting a real test and Decarie was quite a test. From the opening bell, Decarie was the aggressor and never allowed the Newark prospect to get comfortable in the fight before forcing a stoppage in round six.
Despite Perez’s objection, calling it a “bullsh*t stoppage,” referee Danny Schiavone had no choice but to halt the action after Perez had been knocked down hard and then was against the ropes taking huge shots.

Early KOs Mark D.C. Convention Center Card…

I didn’t go to the boxing card held at the D.C. Convention Center this past Saturday. I figured after writing that the main event matchup was, at best, embarrassing, it would seem kind of hypocritical to call the promoter and ask for a media pass. Nonetheless, I did follow the night’s events on Gary William’s Boxing Along The Beltway website.
With eight fights on the card, the first five fights contained exactly one full round of boxing, plus five partial rounds. That’s right, four first round knockouts and one second round knockout. The first five fights combined for a total of 11:46 of action. That’s an average duration of 2:15 over the first five fights. After a four-round and a six-round fight that both went the distance, the main event, to no one’s surprise, lasted less than two full rounds.
Dusty Harrison, of course, was the victor of the main event over Youngstown’s Shane Gierke. To me, it’s just somewhat sad that in a city like D.C., with Philadelphia just up the road, we can’t produce better shows than this.
Correction: I falsely stated last week that Youngstown State and North Dakota State were slated for a key 1-AA matchup in the FargoDome. Actually, YSU was idle last week and the game is this weekend, so don’t panic! You didn’t miss it!
It’s too bad the college football season would just be too long and take all those “student-athletes” away from their studies too much to have a college playoff. After all, how could we ever eliminate Week Five games like LSU vs. Towson State to make room for playoffs? Let’s all be honest; major college presidents are not educators. They are fundraisers and football…it raises funds.
If there is a fight or fighter you feel deserves mention in the Regional Report, please contact Alec at You can also follow Alec on Twitter at and tune in to his weekly online show every Tuesday at 9:00 PM EST at
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