"I was relieved to not have to fight
him anymore," Ortiz told The Queens Courier in Spanish. "A
little part of me was glad to have this over because I didn’t want to
hurt him so much."
For many in the boxing world, Costantino’s
pugilistic dreams are noble but foolhardy.
"A kid like that shouldn’t be
allowed to fight, it doesn’t make any sense," said the renowned
trainer Angelo Dundee, who managed such boxing legends as Muhammed Ali and
Sugar Ray Leonard. "A fighter with one hand can’t fight effectively
against one with two hands."
Longtime boxing writer Bert Sugar called
Costantino’s efforts "amazing." "I have nothing but
admiration for what he’s done," said Sugar. "We build
monuments to people like this."
As much as Sugar admires Costantino, he
stressed that the boxer needs to know his limitations. "If he wants
to prove something," he said, "He’s already proven it!"
Eric Raskin, managing editor of The Ring
magazine recalled two bygone fighters with severe disabilities, one
missing an arm, another a leg. Raskin said his concern was not that
Costantino’s missing hand would create an unfair disadvantage in the
ring, but rather an advantage. "Someone would have to determine if it
made him any more dangerous, if the bone was harder than a fist,"
said Raskin. If not, Costantino should be allowed to fight, the editor
said, adding "anyone can try."
Golden Gloves fighters must have their
amateur boxing license. But that’s a small hurdle. All it takes is $35
and some paperwork. To register for the event, fighters line up at the
Daily News, the sponsor of the tournament, for a physical which tests
primarily for eyesight, heart conditions and drugs.
There are no specific provisions for
physical disabilities, so in Costantino’s case, the doctors had to
determine whether he could adequately defend himself.
John Woluewich, president of USA Boxing
and a member of the committee that allowed Costantino to fight, admitted
having doubts. So he paid a visit to Gleason’s to get a peek at the
Queens boxer. Costantino was "healthy enough and strong enough, so we
couldn’t in good conscience say no," said Woluewich.
"The kid proved himself in the first
fight, and the considerations went out the window," he said.
As for the pummeling he took in his
second bout, Costantino denied that it was a result of his not being able
to defend himself. "I just lost focus, I really did," he said.
"The guy won the fight but it was more about me."
He swears that despite the loss, he is
still a boxer to be reckoned with. If anything, the loss has strengthened
"Now I know what to expect," he
said. "I just have to train harder."