Convicted Artist Magazine

Sep 26th
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 fighters-with-a-causeFighters are in a great position to do good for many philanthropic causes.  They are also in a position to highlight the plight or cultural heritage of a largely unknown group.  In this article, I am looking at a few modern fighters, and the people they brought to the attention of the fans worldwide.  

Jose Ramirez - Central Valley Farmers
The 2012 Olympian could definitely be fighting on more televised cards in Las Vegas or on PBC cards throughout the country, but he has set up shop in his hometown of Fresno, and is playing to packed (even if papered) crowds.  He has set about highlighting the plight of the Central Valley farmers, who have had their water shut off on them, and their contracts outsourced.  All it seems for environmental reasons, but a more sinister corporate intention of takeover is the likely culprit.  One cannot drive the 99 or I-5 without seeing dry and barren fields where farms once stood.  Ramirez still has big name promotion behind him, but he is perhaps stunting his career to bring this situation to light.  Inspiring.

Tyson Fury - Irish Travellers
It is true that the gypsy culture was also given a boost by such shows at "Big Fat Gypsy Wedding" both in the UK and the USA, however, the fighting culture of the Travellers was often a side-show aspect to those programs.  Indeed, it was even seen as something secretive.  The wedding programs were also focused on once-in-a-lifetime events of ostentatiousness.  Tyson Fury's rise to success has people googling and studying other aspects of the Irish Gypsy culture, namely their work ethic, traditions, and religious beliefs.  Not everyone is happy with what they are discovering, but more information is out there, for sure.

Sergio Martinez - Bullying
The implication, very incorrect by the way, is that boxers are more likely to have been bullies than have suffered at the hands of them.  However, nothing could be further from the truth.  In many cases, being picked on is what led them to a gym in the first place.  Nonito Donaire said he was the target of bullying throughout his youth, yet it is hard to imagine anyone of his childhood tormentors wanting to be on the end of one of his left hooks today.  Muhammad Ali and Sergio Martinez both turned to boxing after the theft of a bike.  Martinez always showed a philanthropic side, especially when he offered to take over slain scheduled opponent Vernon Forrest's "Destiny's Child" charity.  He, however, became the face of boxing's anti-bullying campaign instead, often having singled-out victims sit ringside at his fights.

Orlando Cruz - Gay Rights
Let's be honest... Puerto Rican featherweight Cruz would not be famous had it not been for his sexuality.  It also speaks well of the boxing community, that like any other prospect, he was essentially forgotten after a shellacking at the hands of Orlando Salido.  While the fighter himself may not have had the ability of an Emile Griffith (who was also rumored to have been gay), his timing was impeccable as the first openly gay, currently active boxer.  In this day and age, he was able to be more open.  He did this by wearing rainbow trunks, piercings, and ended up calling more gay attention to boxing, than even boxing-fan attention to homosexuality.  Either way, it was long overdue.

Chris Strait

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