Puerto Rico  has produced many world-class boxers, starting with the island’s first NBA world champion in the bantamweight class, Barceloneta native Sixto Escobar, who first won the title in 1934. In 1948, bantamweight boxer Juan Evangelista Venegas became the first Puerto Rican to win an Olympic medal. To date, Puerto Rico has won six Olympic medals in boxing. Isabela native Juan Ruíz made history by becoming the first Latino WBA heavyweight champion by beating Evander Holyfield in 2001.
Félix “Tito” Trinidad is considered by many to be Puerto Rico’s best all-time boxer. A champion in both welterweight and middleweight divisions, Trinidad announced his retirement in 2002 with a record of 42 wins, 35 by knockout, and only two losses. Since then he has come out of retirement twice to compete three more times, losing his last match in 2008 to Roy Jones. Trinidad’s most celebrated win was the defeat of welterweight champion Oscar de La Hoya in an event called The Fight of the Millennium held at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas in 1999. His victorious return to the island was marked by a jubilant turnout of thousands of fans who greeted him at the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan .