“Wilfredo Benitez Needs Us Now”
Felix ‘Tito’ Trinidad Among Boxers Showing Support
Yesterday at the Coliseo Gallistico de Bayamon, a special event was organized to help raise funds for the care of Wilfredo Benitez. There is a strong community in Puerto Rico with the “cock fighting” sport. Junito Aponte put together the event and invited several members of the boxing world. My fellow boxing media colleague Efrain Diaz who started the movement “No Campeon, No me Olvido de ti (No Champion, I haven’t forgotten you)” by selling t-shirts to help Benitez’ Sister Yvonne had his t-shirt stand set up and they were selling very fast. Yvonne was present also with her husband Efrain Crespo Diaz and her grandson, as well as former boxer and Cancer survivor Daniel “Pipino” Alicea. Members of the boxing community who showed up to show support were Alfredo “Salsero” Escalera, Samuel Serrano, Jason Sosa, Michael Angelo Perez, Carlos “El Topo” Gerena, and the only Puerto Rican female Boxing Promoter Mercedes Vazquez who flew in from New York for the event and visited Benitez at his residence the previous day.
I spoke to Mercedes and asked her how important it was for her to join this movement. Mercedes replied, “Wilfredo has done so much for our Island of Puerto Rico, for the sport of boxing and so much that he’s done for us, I think it’s time for us in the boxing community to gather around when one of our own is down and out. That’s why we’re here. I came in from New York for the event so we’re here to show support.” I thanked Mercedes for the interview and the fights began with everyone waiting for the arrival of Felix “Tito” Trinidad.
Tito arrived and I caught him before he entered to the adoring and anxious crowd. I began the interview saying, “I’m here with my friend and great Champion of Puerto Rico, Felix Tito Trinidad. Felix since I’ve known you from 2004 at the Mayorga fight, what I’ve seen is that you always make yourself available to help anyone in need. How do you feel today, what is the importance in helping Wilfredo Benitez?” Tito responded, “Well as a human being, I’ve always thought that I need to help those most in need…and more so for the Champion to all of us, the Champion to all the World, Wilfredo Radar Benitez, who today needs us. Today for you…today for me, tomorrow for you as they say. He needs from all of us. Here are companions, people who play the “gallos (cock fights)” real hard. They say today’s play would be to benefit Benitez and today, May 22nd 2017 is a reality. We are doing this for our great Champion, 3 time World Champion Wilfredo Benitez. God bless him. We have to give him a hand. We need to go forward and everyone still has time to get to the “Gallera (cock fighting arena)” to cooperate with Wilfredo Benitez with all my heart.”
I then asked Tito, “With Wilfredo’s situation and also with Prichard Colon, do you think that there should be a union in boxing?” Tito replied, “Well boxing is unified but talking about boxing, of our people, of our Island of Puerto Rico…to unify more, to give more…talking about the whole World because there are moments like this that we need help. We need the unity of all of Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is an Island where we are a generous people, people who care with a lot of heart and we know that there is always someone in need. The people, the public, but especially the people are going to be ready to help…so I love you, my people, Puerto Rico I love you.” I told Tito as always a pleasure and thanked him. Tito then entered, took pictures, joked with the crowd, signed autographs, and showed how truly humble he is. Tito took time for everyone and never denies anyone. Once there was a break with the crowd, I told Tito he misunderstood my question as a call for unity when I meant a boxing union with pensions/insurance. Tito then advised he was in favor of a union. Tito continued with the crowd as people were lining up, his smile never leaving his face.
Wilfredo Benitez’ condition and supplies for his care are needed. Future events are being planned for Puerto Rico and in New York, two are scheduled for June. Those wishing to help can still get their t-shirt and join the movement. You can call Efrain Diaz to order shirts at $20 each (787-344-5907) and they can also be ordered by sending an inbox message with the personal details at the newly created Wilfred “El Radar” Benitez-Pagina Oficial Facebook page. You can also contact Diaz via his email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Those wishing to help with funds can also deposit in the checking account “Pro Fondos Wilfred Benitez #6208001756 from First Bank. Yvonne Benitez also has a GoFundMe page (Ayuda a “El Radar” Benitez). All funds go to the care for Benitez.