A new icon has emerged and has taken the crown as the new king of the fighting world.
Down goes the bull and in comes the smaller, but superior being, a matador of sorts, taming the wild beast.
The Mexican community finally has its new hero; the long-awaited heavyweight fighter that has never existed.
Cain Velasquez is the Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight champion, a great accomplishment for a man regarded as an underdog going into Saturday night’s fight against ex-WWE wrestler Brock Lesnar.
There is something different about this fight, however. It isn’t the classic small fighter beating the overwhelming favorite spectacle.
This fight is different in all aspects. This fight could bring great change to a sport and its reception.
Just think of what the victory means to that certain community.
The Mexican community has long favored boxing as the combat sport of choice and with a rich history in place, why wouldn’t they embrace the pugilist sport?
What can be a big problem though, there has never been a Mexican or Mexican-American heavyweight champion in the history of boxing. The closest ever to a world title was Chris Arreola, a Mexican-American from Los Angeles, who fought for the WBC and IBF title in the past year.
Arreola is a good fighter at 31-2, but he hasn’t been able to get over the hurdle and win a world title. He lost to Vitali Klitschko last year in what was arguably the biggest fight for a Mexican in the heavyweight category.
A TKO isn’t a good way to lose a title fight, especially if it involves an IBF, WBO, WBA or a WBC title, the four major boxing titles at any weight class.
Arreola is still going forward in his quest, but losing two consecutive title-on-the-line bouts doesn’t look good to promoters.
On the other side of the spectrum you have Ricardo “El Finito” Lopez, Julio Cesar Chavez, Oscar De La Hoya, and Juan Manuel Marquez.
These Mexican boxers each had a career that was unique and remarkable on its own.
Lopez compiled a record of 51-0-1, while winning the all four of the major world titles. He retired undefeated, having defended his WBC belt a record 21 times.
De la Hoya won 10 world titles in six different weight classes a legendary feat that included beating 17 world champions.
The thing is that none of these Mexicans or Mexican American (De La Hoya) boxers were heavyweight fighters.
With the arrival of Filipino phenomenon Manny Pacquiao and his triumphs against any fighter put against him, it’s hard to see a Mexican fighter becoming a champion anytime soon, at least in his weight classes.
There was never a Mexican or Mexican American fighter on the grid when the Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis were around.
This is where Velasquez falls into place. His fight with Lesnar had so much on the line because it had the hopes and dreams of many in the Mexican community.
Velasquez wasn’t going against some scrub that was champion by default. He was going against the rolling boulder, the battery ram that had taken down a few greats on his own path to the championship.
Saturday’s Pay-Per-View fight at Anaheim’s Honda Center had many people of Mexican descent, as cameras repeatedly showed individuals sporting Mexican flags and T-shirts.
Velasquez’s theme song as he came into the ring was a Vicente Fernandez song, full with the mariachi that has made the singer a legend in Mexico. To make it more personal, Velasquez had a Mexican flag on his mouth guard.
Never mind the status of Lesnar, Velasquez sprung up on every take down, kept his composure, out punched and gave the former collegiate wrestler a beating he will never forget.
Four minutes and 12 seconds later, the UFC had a new champion.
The proud Mexican fighter with a warrior spirit dedicated his victory to Mexican Americans and his parents’ countrymen back in Mexico.
He went to the community, staging rallies in places like Olvera Street, hoping to get the support of his people.
He came and won. Now the people can look to him and see their champion.