Thursday, July 14, 2011

CNN's "Latino in America: In Her Corner"


"Latino in America: In Her Corner" is a documentary that will hopefully bring more light on woman’s boxing and the struggles they go through in a male dominated sport.

In CNN's upcoming "Latino in America: In Her Corner", we follow boxer Marlen Esparza. She is 106 pounds of muscle, and hits so quickly and so hard that she has to spar with guys. She is drop-dead gorgeous and oozes charm but has been fixated on boxing since she was 12 – shunning friends, boyfriends, a social life and even TV to make time to box. There are just 5 phone numbers in her cell phone – her mother and father, two siblings and her coach.

She was smart enough to get full scholarships to top colleges, even though she comes from a blue-collar neighborhood with a below average school. But she postponed college because Marlen and her working class Mexican-American family dream she will one day represent the US in the Olympics, giving their Latino community a hero that could push aside negative stereotypes.

Standing in Marlen’s way are the competitors who share her Olympic aspirations, a mirror of the kind of girls who box in this country – blue collar, women of color who struggle in what is traditionally a man’s sport. There is Cristina Cruz, a Puerto Rican from Hell’s Kitchen whose boyfriend trains her at the famous NY gym Gleasons. She is sexy and a magnetic party girl. She says that boxing saved her from the life of crime her parents followed.

Marlen and Cristina are fierce opponents and broad cultural contrasts in the Latino community. The Olympics has allowed every female sport except traditionally male boxing. But finally, Marlen’s time as come. The Olympics has decided to allow female boxing in the 2012 games, throwing down the last barrier to women. She is in top form, a 5-time national champion who is just 21. She has an opportunity to give her community something they crave – a hero. But only if she wins.


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