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On March 3, 2000 in Las Vegas, Belinda fought an eight-round battle with Christy Martin that ended as a controversial majority decision for Martin.

Belinda's skillful performance drew a big response from my Women's Boxing Page readers, and established the 21-year-old Puerto Rican as a rising star.

 This interview was first published on the Women's Boxing Page on April 10, 2000.

Dee: Belinda, you began boxing professionally rather young. What motivated you to start fighting professionally?

Belinda: My brother is a professional boxer, and I first became interested in boxing by hanging around the gym in Mayaguez while he trained.

Dee: Tell us a little about your background. Have you trained in other sports, other combat sports?

Belinda: I have always been active in sports, and was a long-distance runner in Puerto Rico, where I won a national cross-country championship. Boxing is the only combative sport in which I have trained and competed. I was an amateur champion in Puerto Rico.

Dee: Who was your toughest opponent, and why?

Belinda: Mitzi Jeter is the toughest opponent I have met so far in my career. She is so brave and so determined, and she is the hardest puncher I have faced.

Dee: What has been your most exciting moment as a pro boxer?

Belinda: My most exciting moment as a pro boxer came when the bell sounded to end my bout in Las Vegas with Christy Martin, which I was certain that I had won by a wide margin, and I was already thinking of all the doors that my victory over Christy would open for me. But my excitement turned quickly into bitter disappointment when the judges' decision was announced. I felt that the judges had made a joke of me in public, and that they were laughing at me. I realized at that moment that Christy had only to finish the fight on her feet to be guaranteed the decision. It was very disheartening.

Dee: Some of our web site visitors pointed out that Christy was getting to you with some pretty hard body punches. Were her body shots making you adapt your style or your fight plan any?

Belinda: Christy did manage to hit me with some pretty solid body shots, especially in the sixth round, but you may recall that she could barely touch me with anything for the first five rounds, and by the time she was able to connect solidly, her punches had little effect. At no point did I abandon my fight plan.

Frankly, I was very surprised that Christy was so slow and so predictable. I was also very surprised that it was so easy to frustrate her and get her out of her game. From watching her closely in and outside of the ring, I guessed that Christy is basically a bully, who depends upon her reputation to intimidate her opponents, and who loses her temper when she can't have her way, and my strategy was based on this. What can I say? We danced to my music.

Dee: You've gained huge popular support round the world from giving Christy Martin such a great fight. What's next for Belinda Laracuente?

Belinda: A rematch with Christy is first on my list of priorities. Call it "unfinished business". You saw how she looked after she "won" on March 3rd in Las Vegas. I am trying to imagine how she'll look when she loses.

But Christy is not the only game in town for me. A rematch with Zulfia Koutdoussova for her IWBF lightweight belt somewhere in Latin America is being discussed, and Jane Couch's name has come up in serious conversation as well. There are so many really fine female boxers at 135-140 lbs that I can stay very busy while Christy decides whether she wants to meet me again or not. At this point, Christy needs me more than I need her, so let her take her time. She must beat me in order to regain her credibility in women's boxing.

Dee: Are there other boxers (men or women) you particularly admire, or who you see as role models?

Belinda: I admire Tito Trinidad, along with all the great champions that Puerto Rico has produced, and I hope to add my name to the list of Puerto Rico's world champions. My trainer here in Miami has taught me to appreciate the defensive and counter-punching skills of Wilfredo Benitez, which I have tried to incorporate into my own boxing style.

Dee: There are so many young girls getting into boxing these days, and they will be looking up to you as one of the stars of the sport. What advice would you give a girl who is just starting out as a pro boxer, from your own experience?

Belinda: To a young girl just starting out on a professional boxing career, I would suggest that she shop around, if possible, for a trainer who has patience to teach and coach, and one who has a positive and upbeat approach to training fighters. The last thing any young fighter needs is a "towel carrier" who just goes through the motions, and is interested only in his share of the fighter's purse.

Dee: How do you you prepare yourself mentally and physically in the days before you fight?

Belinda: When I know that I have properly prepared myself physically for a fight, mental preparation is not a problem for me. I train and run five days each week, and my days off are usually Sundays and Wednesdays.

Dee: How do your friends and family react to your ring career?

Belinda: My family and friends are 100% supportive of my boxing career, and my parents attend my fights whenever possible. My dad is often in my corner when I fight.

Dee: What are your personal goals as a boxer?

Belinda: My immediate goal as a boxer is to win a world title. After that, who knows?

Dee: Do you have any message for your many fans who are following your career on the internet?

Belinda: My message to my fans is that I am overwhelmed and delighted with the support that I have received from them. They have my promise that I will put it all on the line to please them whenever I enter the ring.

Many thanks to Belinda for this interview and best wishes to her for future success in and out of the ring ... Dee

Other Belinda Laracuente links

Page last updated: Wednesday, June 9, 2004

 
     
     
     
     
 

WBAN Boxer Interview by Dee Williams

 
     

 

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