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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You've gained huge popular support round the world from giving Christy
Martin such a great fight. What's next for Belinda Laracuente?
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
What are your personal goals as a boxer?
Belinda: My immediate goal as a boxer is to win a world title. After that, who
Do you have any message for your many fans who are following your career on
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