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First openly gay boxer Orlando Cruz fights for world title; will wear rainbow trunks at match on Saturday

BY TIM DAHLBERG
AP BOXING WRITER

LAS VEGAS -- Orlando Cruz won the fight of his life when he came out last year as the first openly gay fighter in boxing.

Now he's in a fight of another kind, a championship battle Saturday night that is the biggest bout of his professional career.

"It's my dream and it's my time," Cruz said. "I've been waiting a long time to fight for the championship and I plan to make history."

Cruz takes on fellow veteran Orlando Salido in a fight for a piece of the featherweight title on the undercard of Timothy Bradley's fight with Juan Manuel Marquez. He'll do it wearing rainbow colors on his boxing trunks, his way of showing support for others in the gay and lesbian community.

"This is for all of them," Cruz said. "But this is for me, too. It's a beautiful opportunity for me, and it's my moment."

The trunks have caused some controversy in his native Puerto Rico because the design is a Puerto Rican flag with the rainbow colors in place of the usual colors. But Cruz said his intention was always to honor his country while also making a statement for gay rights.

"Some people are mad at me, but I don't care," he said. "I respect the Puerto Rican flag. There were no bad intentions in the design of the trunks."

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