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I look forward to the chaos every year at the Puerto Rican Parade in NYC.

Due to the flakiness of the athletes' schedules, boxing has very few "annual traditions".

Meanwhile, March Madness marks the coming of Spring.

Memorial Day is a massive day for race fans who get to watch the Indy500 and Coke600 run back-to-back.

The first Saturday in May is the Kentucky Derby.

Every Thanksgiving, you eat waaaay too much, and then watch the Lions and/or the Cowboys lose on national television while that one uncle complains, "What the fuck happened to Bruce Jenner?!?"

And on July 4th Weekend, you get to watch non-disgusting people become EXTREMELY disgusting as they stuff their faces with hotdogs on the blistering heat of the asphalt outside of Nathan's in Coney Island... Asphalt that spends the other 364 days a year strewn with used condoms and covered with bum urine.

Giphy Images.

Boxing doesn't have that. There is no centralized authority to schedule regular events, so big fights can happen any time of year.  The timing all depends on promoters and the health of their fighters.

Sure, Canelo tries to fight every weekend around Cinco de Mayo, but nobody cares except me and 127.5 million of my Mexican brothers.  

But there is a smaller, more regional, tradition within the boxing world that I have taken part in for the past 2 decades that I enjoy more than any Cinco de Mayo celebration… 

Every year, a Puerto Rican boxer fights at MSG the night before New York City's Puerto Rican Day Parade.

For the longest time, that fighter was Miguel Cotto, the first Puerto Rican boxer to win world titles in four weight classes (from light welter up to middleweight).  And nearly every year between 2005 and 2015, Cotto would put on a clinic for his loyal NYC fans the night before they donned their Puerto Rican flag headbands and blocked traffic.

Mario Tama. Getty Images.

The biggest of these fights was in 2007 when Cotto defended his welterweight belt against Brownsville, Brooklyn's own, Zab Judah, in what immediately became a "Fight of the Year" candidate.

Bill Tompkins. Getty Images.

Well, Miguel Cotto is no longer with us… Retired, not dead.  But boxing found another young superstar to pick up his mantle and carry on this New York tradition.  His name is Xander Zayas.


Xander is a 21-year-old super-welterweight from San Juan with a professional record of 18-0 (12 KOs) and he is headlining the Top Rank card Saturday night vs a former champion named Patrick Teixeira.  Zayas is a considerable favorite on DraftKings right now, but this will be a night of firsts for him… First time as a Main Event.  First time fighting a former champ.  And first time fighting a Southpaw. So the matchup will be a good indicator to see if this young man has the stones to be this generation's Miguel Cotto. 

I sat down with Xander this week, and he continues to impress me inside and outside of the ring, so give it a listen when you have a sec.  And there are still some tix left for Saturday's event, or you can catch all the action on ESPN or ESPN+.

Enjoy the fights and take a report.