Posts Tagged ‘Puerto Rican’

Happy 80th Birthday, Roberto Clemente!

August 18, 2014

Clemente21

Happy 80th Birthday to Roberto Clemente! As a baseball and Dodgers fan, Roberto Clemente is one of my all time heroes. This is what I wrote about Clemente last year, so will include it below in addition to couple videos on the pride of Puerto Rico. Enjoy!

Roberto was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico. At an early age, Roberto started playing baseball. In 1954, the Brooklyn Dodgers offered him a contract to play for their Triple-A team, the Montreal Royals. While with the Royals, Roberto didn’t play that much. He was often bench. Some say that the Dodgers were trying to guard him from the Rookie Draft of 1954. But, Clyde Sukeforth, a baseball scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates observed that Clemente was being bench and encouraged the Pirates to draft him. On November 22, 1954, the Pittsburgh Pirates selected Roberto Clemente in the Rookie Draft.

Roberto Clemente made his major league debut on April 17, 1955 against the Brooklyn Dodgers. He didn’t do well in his rookie season due to being involved in a car accident midway thru the season. Roberto Clemente really exploded with the Pirates in the 1960s. He led the Pirates to a World Series victory over the Yankees in 1960. Clemente led the National League in Batting in 1961, 1964, 1965 and 1967. He was the Most Valuable Player in 1966. He received numerous Gold Glove awards throughout the 60s for his outstanding defense. Clemente had a canon of an arm. He could throw a guy out at third base or home plate from right field. Players knew not to run on Clemente. He was one of the most amazing players to watch. He helped the Pirates win a second World Series in 1971 when the Pirates beat the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles in seven games. He was named World Series MVP after hitting .414 and hitting a solo home run in the Pirates 2-1 victory in game 7 of the World Series.

Roberto Clemente struggled with injuries and in 1972 he only played in 102 games but ended batting .312 in the season. Roberto collected his 3,000 hit, a double of the Mets’ Jon Matlack in front of the Pittsburgh Pirates fans at Three Rivers Stadium. That would end up being his last hit in the major leagues.

Roberto Clemente was not an ordinary baseball player. He used the diamond to expressed one of his many gifts. Clemente was a great soul. He cared for the most marginalized. He demonstrated tremendous compassion to the poor. Following the 1972 season, there was a catastrophic earthquake in Managua, Nicaragua. Upon realizing that some of the aid that he had previously sent to Nicaragua was not reaching those affected by the earthquake but intercepted by the Somoza government, Roberto Clemente boarded a small airplane that was taking aid packages to the victims. The plane left from Puerto Rico on December 31, 1972 but mechanical problems forced the plane to crash into the ocean off the coast of Isla Verde, Puerto Rico. Everyone from the Pirates attended Clemente’s memorial except his close friend and teammate, catcher, Manny Sanguillen, who decided to jump into the ocean in hopes of finding Roberto’s body. Roberto Clemente’s body was never found.

Roberto Clemente was inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame posthumously in 1973, becoming the first Latino to be elected into the Hall of Fame. Roberto was an amazing man. It takes a special man to go out of his way and coordinate emergency relief for victims of an earthquake in another country. Not only did Clemente orgazined relief funds but he put his family aside to personally go to Nicaragua and deliver the aid to the victims.

Major League Baseball (MLB) owes a lot to Roberto Clemente. I know that they have an award name after him for players who best follow Clemente’s humanitarian work but the award is not enough. It is time that Bud Selig, the commissioner of Baseball pays tribute to Clemente just the same way he did to Jackie Robinson. It is time for Clemente’s number 21 to be retired by all major league teams. Having his number 21 retired will send a powerful message that MLB truly honors and respects Clemente’s humanitarian work.

As a Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente fan, I think its only fair that 21 and 42 be the only numbers to be retired by all teams. Having 21 retired paves the way for MLB to have Roberto Clemente Days’ to be celebrated on August 18th as days where MLB will partner up with local community organizations and sponsor an organization that is doing amazing work on issues impacting that baseball’s town. In Los Angeles, it could be a grassroots organization working to end homelessness. In San Francisco, it could be an organization that advocates for equality when it comes to same sex marriages. In New York, it could be an organization that advocates for equal distribution of wealth and holds Wall Street thugs accountable to pay their share of taxes. In Pittsburgh, it could be an organization that brings awareness to the health conditions of the miners in Pennsylvania. If Major League Baseball had Roberto Clemente Days’ on August 18th, we will once again be demonstrating that Sports serves as a vehicle to address social issues that are not only impacting communities but putting the spotlight on community organizations who are making a difference in the lives of many Americans.

May we continue to keep Clemente’s legacy and spirit alive by living our lives for the greater good of others. Jackie Robinson once said, “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” Roberto Clemente lived by that quote. More importantly, he lived by his own quote, “If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don’t do that, you are wasting your time on this Earth,”

Miguel Cotto Makes History By Stopping Sergio Martinez

June 10, 2014

This past Saturday at Madison Square Garden, Miguel Cotto made history by becoming the first Puerto Rican fighter to win 4 titles in 4 different divisions. He did it by destroying Sergio Martinez. The fight was stop seconds into the 10th round as Martinez trainer stopped the fight.

Miguel Cotto came out aggressive as I expected he would but I never imagined that he would end up hurting much less dropping Martinez in the first round. Not only did he knock him down but he ended knocking him down 3 times. I would be lying if it didn’t cross my mind that Cotto was going to win this fight in the first round. No boxing fan out there expected to see what transcribed in the first round. In that first round, I could see that Martinez knee was not as healed as I had come to expect.

Martinez never seemed to recover from that first round beating as he looked uncomfortable throughout the fight. He never seemed to get into a rhythm. Cotto was just a different beast in the ring. He control every round except for one that I gave to Martinez but he clearly look like a handicapped fighter fighting a raging bull in Cotto. 

I give credit to Martinez for not coming up with excuses but the reality is that Martinez knee gave up on him in that first round. I also mention in my pre fight analysis that Martinez style of fighting with his hands down wasn’t the way to fight Cotto. And that first left hook that Cotto landed was a result of Martinez lack of defense and inability to keep his hands up. 

Couple questions that came up to me after the fight. Why did Martinez did not take a tune up fight to test his knees? And was this last fight for Martinez? I think Martinez was put in a very difficult situation. Had Sergio Martinez taken a tune up fight and his knees had given up on him, he would have lost the opportunity to make the money he made on the Cotto fight and we would have never seen Saturday’s fight. Regarding Martinez last fight, Sergio stated that he hasn’t yet thought about retirement but after last Saturday painful performance, I would be in favor of his hanging up the gloves. Martinez gave boxing fans some entertaining fights and he will be missed but Boxing fans don’t want him to go out any worse than Saturday.

As far as Cotto, he resurrected his career with that performance. He looked great. I think Cotto has around 5 fights left in his tank. He has couple offers out there. Some of the fights out there could be: Cotto vs Canelo, Cotto vs Mayweather 2, Cotto vs Golovkin, Cotto vs Quillin, Cotto vs Lara, etc. This last one is if Lara beats Canelo in July. The Cotto vs Mayweather 2 fight will not happen. I don’t think Floyd wants anything to do with  the Cotto that fought on Saturday. I would love to see Cotto defend his middleweight belt at least once. It would be great to see Cotto vs GGG in December of this year. But, expect to see Cotto vs Canelo later this year.

Miguel Cotto vs Sergio Martinez Pre Fight Analysis

June 7, 2014

The time has arrived! Tonight at the Madison Square Garden, Miguel Cotto will try to make history by becoming the first Boricua to win titles in four different weight classes. Standing in his way is Middleweight Champion, Sergio Martinez. This fight has the potential of becoming a Fight of the Year candidate. Let’s look at the keys to victory for both fighters:

Miguel Cotto is entering his second fight under Freddie Roach. Many in the Boxing community feel that Cotto took this fight because he feels he can capitalized on Martinez knee problems. Is this fight a little bit to late or is it happening just in time? As a fan, I give Cotto a lot of credit for trying to make history by fighting one of the best middleweights in Sergio Martinez. This is clearly a much difficult path than other boxers have used to make history. A case in point is Manny Pacquiao. When he won his “8th Division title,” he fought at a catch weight of 150lb vs Margarito, a belt that was practically given to Manny.

Cotto to come victorious tonight has to make it a rough fight. Cotto is gonna have to try to box from the inside and pound the body using his vicious left hook to the body. He cannot allow Martinez to get into a rhythm earlier in the fight. A fighter like Martinez, one is going to have to cut the ring, and work the body. The ability to cut the ring and slow your opponent down by pounding the body will show its results towards the later rounds. 

Another interesting point to look into is Cotto’s conditioning. Cotto has been known to get tired during the late rounds. Will his condition and the extra weight hold on or will it be too much for Cotto?

I expect Cotto to start strong and make this fight an aggressive fight. Working inside, trying to pound the body and putting pressure on Martinez to test his knees. If Cotto can let his hands go and attack the body and make Martinez uncomfortable in the beginning rounds, then Puerto Ricans will have something to celebrate way before the Puerto Rican Parade.

For Martinez to become victorious, he has to be very smart and use his ring IQ. His style of fighting with his hands low, I don’t know if that is going to work with Cotto. He has to keep his hands up and box from the outside. Martinez needs to establish control from the beginning and make Cotto uncomfortable. He cannot allow Cotto to work inside and attack his body. 

Martinez needs to use his quick jabs and box Cotto around. If we see the Martinez that fought Chavez for 11 rounds and out boxed him then Cotto will have a long night. If Martinez knee is fully healed and does not present any problems then one can expect Martinez to get comfortable in the ring and try to outbox Cotto. 

Roach has predicted a knock out in 4 rounds. Martinez has predicted a knock out in 9 rounds. If a knock out comes, I see it happening between round 7-11 for either boxer but most likely by Martinez.

My prediction is that the first couple of rounds will be interesting with the second half seeing Martinez make adjustments and winning via decision. Let us hope that the judges don’t steal the spotlight and give the fight to the winner via a questionable scoring. I would hate to see a judge score the fight for Cotto or Martinez simply because of their name and not necessarily because of the work they did inside the ring. So let’s enjoy a great night of Boxing and hope there is no robbery and may the best fighter win.