Francisco Palacios: Puerto Rican cruiserweight remains hungry, yet very humble

boxing 17.03.09 - By Vivek Wallace: "The experience of working closely with the veterans and hearing their stories about going to war and the things they dealt with is enough to drive a man to tears." --- Francisco Palacios (WBA Fedelatin Cruiserweight Champion)

Often in life we learn that many of the things which stand before us are never quite what they appear. Be it the blonde sitting solo in the corner at closing time or the multi-millionaire driving the '83 Oldsmobile; when you take a little time to investigate, sure enough, there's far more to the story than typically meets the eye. Similarly, to catch a glimpse of an extremely vocal specimen standing 6'2", weighing in at a near 200lbs from a southpaw stance, the first inclination would be that this is a guy who doesn't have a compassionate bone in his body. Fortunately for those who have crossed his path, a very contrasting perspective fell into place..

Over the last five years, the mission of Francisco Palacios has been two-fold, yet the level of commitment propelling him to reach those missions remain unparalleled. In a very short time, his drive within the ring has conveniently placed him within the top 6 of multiple governing bodies within the cruiserweight division. A boxer by trade, most would think that alone would suffice to make him happy. Oddly enough, it's his drive outside of the ring that pushes him even greater, anxious to give back to his community the same opportunities that he failed to seize growing up in troubled times due to a lack thereof.

Recently, Palacios and a few camp insiders spent a full day with a group of military veterans at the Orlando Veterans Affairs hospital. By his own admission, "the experience was enough to drive a man to tears". The motivation behind the event was to show appreciation for a group of men and women who have been supportive of him, but after stepping into their world for a few hours, his deepest thought dwelled in the fact that "as much as those vets did for us citizens of the country, we don't really do much for them, or show them any true respect or love". It was the first charitable event held by the Team Palacios camp, but according to the Puerto Rican cruiser-weight, it won't be the last, with various V.A. entities expected to receive heavy doses. Taking it a step further, Palacios discussed the fact that he also plans to take his show on the road and perhaps even involve the bright sands of his native land, referring to the beautiful, yet not all pretty island Puerto Rico. He chimed in by saying, "in my island, like everywhere else, what I notice is that people are not only in need of material things, but also deep encouragement, and just having positive people around them". He then concluded by saying that "when I grew up, I didn't have anyone either, so giving everything from food and shelter, to mentoring opportunities is actually a priority of mine more so than just a thought". In an era of life where many athletes gain notoriety and forget where they came from, it's an amazing display of humanity to see the efforts of one who not only remembers, but also carries the pain of his people within on a daily basis.

Many competitors in the cruiserweight division may question a contender with such a soft side, but for those who apparently missed the memo, his closing statement should reverberate loud and clear. "I take time out to give to those who need like I did, but trust me, I still have my vision of being champion of the world. I respect all of the fighters out there on top in the cruiserweight division, but B.J. Flores, Enzo Maccarinelli, Steve Cunningham, I would love to fight them all. Tomasz Adamek is considered the best 'cruiser' in the world, well, he can't be considered the best until he faces and defeats me. Some may consider that bold, but my confidence is super high because my training is super high, in terms of my intensity, so I feel like I'm ready for anything". Finding a better way in life and becoming successful enough to give back proved that in fact he is ready for anything. Some unlucky opponent will find that out in more ways than one at the Orlando Doubletree twin towers, on April 11th.

Stay tuned.

Article posted on 17.03.2009

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