Cruz told USA Today: "I've been fighting for more than 24 years and as I continue my ascendant career, I want to be true to myself. 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 won his first fight after coming out about two weeks later.
Later, speaking with HBO, Cruz remarked, "I'm very, very happy. I'm free." He's also a champ: the 31-year old won his first fight after coming out, but was more pleased with all the support he received from the cheering crowd: I was very happy that they respect me. That’s what I want — them to see me as a boxer, as an athlete and as a man in every sense of the word… That was my moment, my opportunity, my event… And I won."
Cruz made his professional debut on December 15, 2000, against Alfredo Valdez in Puerto Rico. He was undefeated until 2009, when he lost to Cornelius Lock by TKO. Cruz is currently ranked at No. 4 among featherweights by the World Boxing Organization (WBO).
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