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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Latest Boxing News & Rumors Today / Belinda Laracuente, The Puerto Rican Road Warrior Who Dished Out Brown Sugar By the Fistful

Belinda Laracuente, The Puerto Rican Road Warrior Who Dished Out Brown Sugar By the Fistful

The story of Belinda Laracuente
Publish Date: 02/13/2021
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster

Anyone. Anytime. Anywhere.

Belinda Laracuente was a boxer who not only embraced but personified the mindset comprised of these three simple yet meaningful words. No fight or flight test was too daunting for the Puerto Rican sensation who competed in fifty-eight professional bouts spanning a sixteen-year pugilistic tour of duty throughout which she collected passport stamps in eight foreign nations.

For Laracuente, it was not even up for debate that the importance of consistently challenging the cream of the crop, and thus developing herself in the process, took precedence over an unblemished record padded by risk-averse walkovers. No adversary was taken lightly and a title shot, she believed, should be hard-earned rather than taken for granted. “Styles make fights,” said Laracuente. “It’s a little heavy for me, but I see it this way: Always be smart and focus on your opponent.”

Whenever the opportunity came knocking, Belinda was already waiting by the door with her suitcase packed, pen clicked open to sign the contract with one hand, plane ticket and boarding pass clutched in the other, prepared to head off on her next adventure. Win, lose, or draw, Laracuente always gave the sport nothing less than her very best, and yet her enthusiastic dedication to boxing was not always properly acknowledged or repaid in kind. She was unfairly rewarded for her willingness to travel to hostile territory by repeatedly finding herself on the business end of hometown screw jobs favorable to her hosts.

A 26-28-3 career record typically earns a boxer any number of derogatory monikers—opponent, journeyman, bum, tomato can—take your pick from these unfair labels which are generally applied by keyboard warriors with specific yet haphazard malice. Surely, they would be astounded by the fact that Belinda’s accomplishments were celebrated by the International Women’s Boxing Hall of Fame which proudly inducted Laracuente in 2018, but she has the plaque to prove it. To put things into proper context, what follows is the hard-luck story of the happy-go-lucky woman who called herself ‘Brown Sugar.’

Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut but having grown up in Puerto Rico’s municipality of Mayaguez, which translates literally to “Land of the Clear Waters,” the athletically-inclined Laracuente was the only girl on her little league team, and later played women’s baseball and basketball. A long-distance runner who competed in 26-mile marathons alongside her father and brothers, Belinda won a national cross-country championship. Although she had done some modeling and shown an inclination toward running a funeral home, her brother Laureano was a boxer and twelve-year-old Belinda would follow him to the gym where she quickly became entranced by the idea of becoming a fighter herself. She focused her time and energy on being a boxer rather than an embalmer, racking up a 22-2 record as a title-winning amateur. With the blessing and support of her entire family, Laracuente left Mayaguez for Miami, Florida to pursue her dream of becoming a world champion as a professional prizefighter.

An admirer of her celebrated countryman Felix Trinidad, Laracuente was trained in the stylistic manner of another Puerto Rican legend, Wilfred Benitez, whose defensive prowess and precise counterpunching she sought to emulate. Debuting successfully with a four-round majority decision over Karen Nye on February 13, 1997, Laracuente established a breakneck work ethic by fighting eight times in her rookie year. Belinda’s first setback came in her third bout when boxing’s past and present clashed inside the squared circle and Laracuente came out on the short end of a unanimous decision against former world title challenger Cora Webber, who was fresh off an eleven year hiatus but boasted a resume that included victories over fellow 1970’s female trailblazers the likes of Carlotta Lee, Toni Lear Rodriguez, and Marian ‘Lady Tyger’ Trimiar.

The summer of 1997 was spent in Peru where Laracuente made the most of a working vacation, notching her second consecutive first-round knockout, of fistic novice Lusell Aaron on this occasion, and a unanimous decision over winless Sue Chase who had been assigned Christy Martin for an unenviable debut and subsequently lost to notables such as Tracy Byrd, Bonnie Canino, Mary Ortega, Ada Velez, and Mariana Juarez in the course of a 1-23-1 career. The following month, Belinda paid a homecoming visit to Puerto Rico where she stopped Hayde N’unez at the San Juan Marriott.

Six months and two victories later, Laracuente triumphantly returned to Puerto Rico to take part in a major card put on at the Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez in Bayamon with no fewer than four world titles being contested. Daniel Jimenez lost his WBO bantamweight belt to Jorge Eliecer Julio, Freddie Norwood claimed the vacant WBA featherweight championship with a unanimous decision over Antonio Cermeno, and successful title defenses were made by Frankie Liles and Felix Trinidad, against Andrey Shkalikov and Mahenge Zulu respectively, on the night of April 3, 1988. Belinda made quick work of her appearance in the main support bout by putting Sharon Tiller away before the end of round one. This was the second in what would total five straight first-round knockouts for Laracuente.

A few minor speed bumps temporarily halted her forward progress, however, as Belinda would fight to a stalemate with Jeanne Martinez in New Orleans then drop a close four-round decision to former New York Golden Gloves champion Denise Moraetes at Bay St. Louis’ Casino Magic. Even more disenchanting than the loss was the fact that Laracuente had spent the evening prior to fight night in jail when she was found to be in violation of Mississippi’s age restriction on gambling.

Better days were ahead for Belinda, who earned a unanimous decision over ‘Deadly’ Daniella Somers, a tough Belgian who had held world championships in two divisions (WIBF lightweight and super-lightweight) and survived a first-round knockdown to last the distance with Laracuente in a losing effort. Two months later, Belinda captured a secondary title (the WIBF Americas light-welterweight belt) by easily outpointing former heavyweight champion Tim Witherspoon’s sister-in-law Carla over ten rounds in February 1999.

Now 16-2-1, Laracuente would be back in Puerto Rico in three months’ time to outwork the hard-hitting Mitzi Jeter on the undercard of a world championship triple-header at the Coliseo Roberto Clemente headlined by Felix Trinidad, Freddie Norwood, and Leo Gomez. Belinda’s recent successes earned her a shot at the IWBF lightweight title held by Zulfia Kutdyusova, a Russian-born pressure fighter then residing in Chicago. Their bout would be the co-main event to Melissa Del Valle’s successful WIBF super-featherweight title defense against Lena Akesson in a battle of undefeated women warriors. Unfortunately, Laracuente gave an excellent account of herself and appeared to be the more effective power puncher of the two, but was denied Kutdyusova’s championship via majority decision. If this disappointment left a bad taste in Laracuente’s mouth, it would pale in comparison to the egregious larceny she would suffer at Caesars Palace seven months later at the hands of Vegas judges who robbed her of what should have been a certain and career-defining victory over a future hall of famer.

Christy Martin had punched her way through several of boxing’s glass ceilings. The former strong-woman competitor had been involved in prizefighting for more than a decade by the year 2000, with a promotional deal inked by Don King, high-profile spots on the undercards of pay-per-view events featuring fellow King contract players like Mike Tyson and Julio Cesar Chavez as well as Belinda Laracuente’s idol Felix Trinidad, a 38-2-2 record, gold hardware courtesy of the WBC and WBA, and a Sports Illustrated cover story to show for her efforts. If Laracuente was intimidated by any of this, her dazzling smile and self-confident demeanor betrayed no sign of it. Belinda mugged for the cameras at the weigh-in, edging in too close for Christy’s comfort with her right fist balled up beneath Martin’s chin and the index finger of her left hand pointed skyward to show the world who she believed was numero uno.

The fight was put in potential jeopardy when Martin got into a scuffle with her rival Lucia Rijker at a public workout just days away from the March 3 Caesars Palace showdown with Laracuente, straining the tendons in two fingers on her right hand and twisting her ankle during the melee. Nevertheless, Christy made good on her obligation and was rewarded with a decision that was dubious at best. Some might say scandalous. Not surprisingly, Belinda Laracuente was one of them. And rightfully so.

“I was certain that I had won by a wide margin, and I was already thinking of all the doors that my victory over Christy would open for me,” said Laracuente in an interview for WBAN (Women’s Boxing Archive Network) one month removed from the Martin debacle. “I beat up the old lady. She is a joke right now, fighting bums and making money because of her name.” Belinda was as loose as could be during the ring introductions, dancing and shadowboxing while grinning like the cat who was about to eat the Coalminer’s Daughter’s canary.

This matchup was a stark contrast in styles, and it quickly became evident that Christy was flummoxed by the relative ease with which Laracuente was able to nullify her charge-forward attacks with well-chosen and perfectly-timed lead rights and short left hooks thrown straight down the pike. Belinda’s kinetic energy was also a major factor when it came to countering off of Martin’s errant, looping swings, or beating Christy to the punch altogether, then employing quick head movement and lateral orientation to accelerate out of harm’s way before darting in again for another exchange.

Early in the third round, her hair disheveled and face already showing signs of swelling, an exasperated Martin mocked Laracuente by swiveling her hips and sticking her tongue out. Furthermore, as Belinda came at her from a crouch, Martin held her down and unleashed a shot to the back of Laracuente’s head. This deliberate infraction earned Christy an admonishment from referee Jay Nady, who additionally warned Laracuente to keep her head up.

“Frankly, I was very surprised that Christy was so slow and so predictable. I was also very surprised that it was so easy to frustrate her and get her out of her game,” Belinda said. “From watching her closely in and outside of the ring, I guessed that Christy is basically a bully, who depends upon her reputation to intimidate her opponents, and who loses her temper when she can’t have her way, and my strategy was based on this. What can I say? We danced to my music.”

Another clear indication that things had gone off script for Christy came as she sat in her corner awaiting the bell to begin round number four and was overheard asking her then-husband and trainer and, a decade later, attempted murderer Jim Martin with obvious concern, “Have I won a round yet?”

Laracuente confessed to being winded in the middle rounds and, sure enough, she was exhibiting signs of fatigue, remaining stationary just long enough to get caught more often than she had prior. “Christy did manage to hit me with some pretty solid body shots, especially in the sixth round,” Belinda admitted. “But you may recall that she could barely touch me with anything for the first five rounds, and by the time she was able to connect solidly, her punches had little effect. At no point did I abandon my fight plan.”

In the eighth and final round, Martin hurled a succession of haymakers thrown with the reckless desperation of a fighter who is well aware that a knockout is needed to conjure up an otherwise improbable victory. Almost all of these were evaded effortlessly by Laracuente, and she was visibly unbothered by the few glancing blows that snuck past the guard. Belinda appeared to put an exclamation point on her dominant performance by yet again landing the more accurate and effective punches, but if she was as confident of a positive outcome to show for her efforts as the Showtime announce team of Steve Albert and Bobby Czyz, they were all in for a rude awakening.

“I felt that the judges had made a joke of me in public, and that they were laughing at me,” stated Laracuente, who was mystified by the decision read out by ring announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr. If it wasn’t questionable enough that the fight was scored even by Dave Moretti at 76 apiece, Carol Castellano and Patricia Morse Jarman inconceivably gave Christy Martin the victory by way of identical 76-75 tallies. “I realized at that moment that Christy had only to finish the fight on her feet to be guaranteed the decision,” Laracuente elaborated. “It was very disheartening.”

Martin attempted to mask the severity of her facial damage behind a pair of sunglasses as thousands of fans assembled around the outdoors ring at Caesars Palace rained down a torrent of boos. With a very interested Lucia Rijker also in attendance, it is justifiable to speculate that Christy was gifted the victory over Laracuente so as not to detract from the marquee value of the potential Martin/Rijker ‘Million Dollar Ladies’ super fight that was hyped for years before and after but would ultimately never occur.

“A rematch with Christy is first on my list of priorities,” vowed Belinda shortly afterward. “Call it unfinished business. You saw how she looked after she ‘won’ on March 3rd in Las Vegas. I am trying to imagine how she’ll look when she loses.” Laracuente would have to defer to her imagination, as she was passed over by Martin in favor of a safer bet in 9-1-1 Dianna Lewis for her opponent on the undercard of the first fight in the Evander Holyfield /John Ruiz trilogy. As for Laracuente, she put forth an uncharacteristically lackluster performance two months later in a 6-round loss to 3-1 Karla Redo, who, with all due respect, had no business beating a boxer of Belinda’s caliber under ordinary circumstances.

It was undeniable that a disheartened Laracuente was suffering from a professional malaise that would result in a sabbatical from the ring that exceeded two years. “It took me awhile to get over that fight,” she confessed in reference to the lingering effects from the Christy Martin fiasco. “I was nobody, and sometimes boxing can be political when you are a nobody.”

Absence, as they say, makes the heart grow fonder and Belinda rediscovered her passion for boxing during the course of her lengthy layoff. In the three and a half years since Laracuente last squared off against her, Carla Witherspoon had amassed an astonishing twenty defeats with the last three coming at the hands of Lucia Rijker, Chevelle Hallback, and Isra Girgrah. Belinda was back in fine form, taking care of business against Witherspoon in their eight-round main event at the Manchester, New Hampshire Holiday Inn on August 30, 2002. This would be Laracuente’s lone outing of 2002 and she would fight on only four occasions over the following two years (winning three, and drawing with Tracy Byrd), but she was about to get much busier and more or less stay that way for the remainder of her career.

Team Laracuente’s strategy was for a succession of impressive outings to put her on the fast track to either a rematch with Christy Martin or a showdown against Lucia Rijker or, even better, both. Neither option would come to fruition. Belinda, with a record of 21-5-2, had hustled her way back into title contention by 2005 and was given a crack at the IBA world welterweight championship held by ‘Island Girl’ Sumya Anani, who had already earned wins over the likes of Andrea DeShong, Dora Webber, Jane Couch, Fredia Gibbs, Lisa Holewyne and, most impressive of all, Holewyne’s future spouse Christy Martin.

Asked once whether she considered Anani a great fighter, Martin succinctly responded, “She was a great head-butter.” Sure enough, a clash of heads occurred no sooner than Laracuente and Anani came toe-to-toe at center ring. It was Sumya who emerged from the collision the worse for wear with a cut above her right eyebrow, but it would be treated effectively and remain inconsequential throughout the rest of the bout.

A relentless stalker who threw a heavy volume of punches from mostly unorthodox angles, Anani proved to be a tough night at the office for a more deliberate, stick-and-move counterpuncher like Laracuente and this fight was no exception. Former world champion Valerie Mahfood, immediately recognizable by her trademark purple mohawk and best known for having been the only boxer to defeat the great Ann Wolfe, sent Sue Fox a ringside dispatch on the proceedings for WBAN, noting that Laracuente hit the deck courtesy of an apparent left hook to the body in round seven. However, referee Kenny Saintes waved off the knockdown after Belinda complained of being headbutted. The extra point she was denied was not detrimental to the outcome, as Anani had built up a comfortable enough lead on the scorecards to be awarded the unanimous decision and retain her title.

Just a little over two months later, Laracuente shed five pounds to challenge Jessica ‘Raging’ Rakoczy for her IBA world lightweight title, with the vacant NABA strap additionally up for grabs. Belinda admitted to being somewhat unprepared for the awkward style of Rakoczy who lost only two rounds en route to a unanimous decision. They would tangle three more times over the next four years, Rakoczy winning all but their 2006 scrap which was declared a no-contest after three rounds when Jessica was declared unfit to continue because of injuries sustained by an accidental headbutt.

After three more subsequent losses—to the criminally undervalued Mary Jo Sanders (Belinda was a late replacement for Lisa Holewyne), unbeaten Canadian Kara ‘KO’ Ro (who would retire without a loss in 2011), and soon-to-be world champion Melissa Fiorentino—it would take until August 2005 for Laracuente get back in the win column. Less than a month after being outpointed by Fiorentino, Belinda traveled to the Westchester County Center in upstate New York to edge out a narrow decision over Ann-Marie Saccurato in the backyard of the previously undefeated White Plains native. Weathering an early onslaught from the hometown favorite, Laracuente not only gave as good as she got but turned up the heat from the third round onward, much to the appreciation of both the fans and ringside judges.

Belinda closed out an extraordinarily busy calendar year by taking to the skies for a pair of tough fights, establishing a trend which would continue over the course of the next three years of competing on foreign soil more often that not. First up was a trip to the Roppongi district of Tokyo for a WIBA world super-featherweight title eliminator against former featherweight titleholder, Fujin Raika. Despite keeping her foot pressed to the accelerator from the outset and breaking Raikia’s nose with one of her punches, Laracuente was once again victimized by partisan judges. The spectators within the Velfarre dance club which hosted the event were respectfully silent at the rendering of the spurious decision and, whether or not it was a conciliatory good-faith gesture on the part of the WIBA, it is very telling nevertheless that the title shot being squabbled over by Laracuente and Raika wound up going to Belinda seven weeks later despite having lost the fight.

Four women’s bouts topped the bill at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on November 18, 2005 with world titles on the line in three of those contests. Jelena Mrdjenovich successfully defended her WBC and IWBF super-featherweight championships against Franchesca Alcanter and Jeannine Garside captured gold in only her fourth professional fight by dominating WIBA super-bantamweight titleholder Lisa Brown. In the third title fight, Belinda Laracuente was unable to make good on her challenge, conceding a decision to WIBA super-featherweight champion Chevelle Hallback, another of the fight game’s unheralded female heroes, which was arrived at unanimously and non-controversially.

Tough times continued for Laracuente as 2006 began with a main event scrap with Valanna McGee in her hometown of Redding, California which was as highly-spirited as it was anti-climactic when the judges’ verdict culminated in a deadlock. France was the next stop on Belinda’s pugilistic world tour when the opportunity arose to face off with undefeated WBA world super-lightweight champion Myriam Lamare in a televised co-feature at the Palais des Sport Marcel Cerdan just six weeks later. Laracuente provided Lamare with her most credible challenge to date, but still fell short on the scorecards. The judges’ wide discrepancies were not reflective of how closely contested the fight was in actuality and were even called into question by the French television commentators. Lamare not only praised Laracuente but consented to a rematch which would take place four months down the line and, yet again, on the defending champion’s home turf. Competing with an injured right hand, Belinda was outpointed by Lamare for a second straight time.

One of the top pound-for-pound greats of the female fight game, ‘Amazing’ Layla McCarter had long been advocating for three-minute rounds in women’s boxing matches. Her protests had fallen on deaf ears until late 2006 when Nevada State Athletic Commissioner Keith Kizer approved a measure whereby women’s bouts could be contested under three-minute round rules so long as both fighters were agreeable to the provision. Layla found a ready and willing ally in Belinda Laracuente to take part in a consequential event on November 17, 2006 at the Orleans Hotel and Casino in McCarter’s hometown of Las Vegas which would be broadcast on CSI Sports and commented on with enthusiastic acclaim by Al Bernstein and Colonel Bob Sheridan.

With so many eyes trained on them this significant evening, whether with admiration or skepticism, the pressure was on McCarter and Laracuente to deliver a skirmish that was not just momentarily entertaining but historically memorable. They both rose to the occasion and accomplished exactly that. It took Layla little time to establish a rhythm which she dictated for the majority of the fight, consistently stepping to her right to cut Laracuente off from making movements to her left, ripping hellacious body shots with the intention of immobilizing Belinda as the rounds wore on, and throwing a high volume of varied combinations while keeping her guard high to catch as many counterpunches as possible on her gloves.

An accidental clash of heads with one minute remaining in the sixth round threatened to turn the tide if not jeopardize the remainder of the bout as an ugly laceration beneath McCarter’s right eye immediately began gushing blood. After receiving the approval of the ringside physician to return to action, Layla came at Laracuente hot and heavy over the next sixty seconds as if wanting to finish the round strong in the event that the fight was not allowed to continue thereafter. That concern was put to rest by the diligent cut work done in McCarter’s corner by her career-long trainer Luis Tapia, who admirably kept the wound from re-opening or swelling.

Belinda emerged from her corner for the seventh with a renewed sense of purpose and had her best round by far, targeting McCarter’s vulnerable right eye and getting the better of their heated exchanges for the first time that night. This was a testament to Laracuente’s magnificent physical condition which can no doubt be attributed to her lifetime experience as a long-distance runner. If the additional minute tacked onto each of the ten rounds posed a question mark with regard to the stamina of female fighters, both Laracuente and McCarter answered those uncertainties in the affirmative with emphatic undeniability. A standing ovation at the final bell was evidence of this.

Fighting three-minute rounds was a one time only affair for Laracuente, but the triumphant McCarter would engage in six subsequent bouts under similar conditions and win all but one of these fights—dropping a majority decision, and surrendering her GBU lightweight title, to Belinda’s protégé Melissa Hernandez the following year. At the suggestion of five-time bantamweight and super-bantamweight world titleholder Ada Velez, Laracuente attended the 2003 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championships in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to scout the promising Puerto Rican contender in action and was taken with her energy, raw power, and charisma. So much so that Melissa was invited to live with and train under Laracuente and Velez, ultimately refining her skills to become a repeat Golden Gloves winner in 2004 and 2005 before turning pro.

“A little of the Brown Sugar rubbed off on me,” said the always beguiling and rugged Hernandez who has gone on to win six world championships in five divisions and will be challenging Chantelle Cameron for her WBC world super-lightweight title in London on March 20.

As for Belinda, Al Bernstein pondered at the conclusion of the McCarter fight that he felt her misleading record was perhaps attributed to the fact that she was stuck between two gears stylistically speaking, and that it might be advantageous to her future success if she committed herself to being either a technically-sound boxer or a pier-six brawler. He might have been on to something, but it was a little late in her career for Laracuente to reinvent herself even if she was inclined to do so. Her winless streak would extend into 2007 and reach double digits with frustrating losses to Rhode Islander Melissa Fiorentino in a return bout held in Providence, Canadian phenom Jelena Mrdjenovich in a non-title main event match at the Delta South Hotel in Jelena’s home province of Edmonton, and Serbian-born Brazilian ‘Diamond’ Duda Yankovich in the headliner of an all-female fight card at the Companhia Athletica Brooklyn in Sao Paolo. “Belinda came to fight,” stated Mrdjenovich. She brought out the best in me.”

Not only did Laracuente get a much-needed victory on June 15, 2007, but she outboxed Melissa Del Vale over twelve rounds at the Orleans Hotel and Casino on the Vegas strip (site of her 3-minute-round title fight against Layla McCarter) to win the vacant GBU world super-lightweight championship. Belinda was never called upon to defend what would turn out to be her one and only world title, and 30-6-1 Del Valle called it quits after ten years following her loss to Laracuente.

Belinda once again found herself fighting on unfamiliar terrain when she took on future two-division world champion Esther Phiri at the Woodlands Stadium in the Zambian capital of Lusaka. The split decision was rendered in favor of the up-and-coming local favorite despite the fact that it was Laracuente who was assessed as the more aggressive and accurate of the two combatants. Belinda seemed to be well within her rights by openly complaining that the verdict was “very unfair.”

Laracuente had mentored a young Melissa Hernandez and now, on February 7, 2008 in Temecula, California, they would both be featured in separate co-headlining bouts on an all-women’s boxing card which was televised on FSN’s Best Damn Fight Night. Hernandez and Chevelle Hallback put on an instant classic for the crowd at the Pechanga Resort & Casino by slugging it out in an all-action nail-biter which ended in a ten-round stalemate with the vacant IFBA world lightweight title remaining unclaimed. By comparison, Belinda Laracuente and undisputed world welterweight champion Holly Holm engaged in a mostly cautionary chess match which saw Holm make excellent use of her height, weight, and reach advantages to impose her will on Laracuente. Holm’s IFBA belt was the only one on the line and it came home with her to New Mexico courtesy of a unanimous decision. “Holly cannot compare because she runs too much and she is getting boring,” grumbled Laracuente.

In the midst of another prolonged downturn of fortune, Belinda returned to France where unified super-lightweight world champion Anne Sophie Mathis put her WBA title up for grabs against Laracuente. After losing only her second fight, Mathis went on a tear throughout the division and turned away all challengers until moving up to welterweight and super-welterweight where she likewise became a world champion. Belinda put forth an honorable effort but failed to put up a sufficient amount of points on the scorecards in what was an unfortunately recurring theme for the Puerto Rican fighter, whether legitimately or an open and shut case of thievery.

Once again, the globetrotting Laracuente found herself being done dirty by corrupt scorekeepers less than one month later in the African nation of Kenya while vying for the interim WIBF world super-bantamweight title opposite Fatuma Zarika at Charter Hall in Nairobi. It was reported that the decision bestowed unto Zarika was so obviously contemptible in nature that her own supporters lifted Laracuente up onto their shoulders while chanting “USA! USA!”

Belinda went 3-3 over her final six fights, defeating Lakeysha Williams, Davrene ‘DJ’ Morrison (who would later undergo gender transition and is now known as David), and Nicole Woods, but resuming hostilities with Layal McCarter and Jelena Mrdjenovich with adverse results for Laracuente similar to their first go-arounds. Her last fight would occur in Argentina on September 12, 2013 when Belinda was stopped for the first and only time in her sixteen year career by Monica Silvina Acosta in Santa Rosa.

“I’m the best of the best,” boasted Belinda Laracuente. “One of the pioneers of women’s boxing.” A cursory glance at the raw data may be grounds for some to immediately dismiss Laracuente’s claim. It’s not until you dig beneath the surface of these deceptive statistics, with the understanding and appreciation that numbers account for just a small fraction of the bigger picture, that it becomes much more difficult to deny relentless and venerable fighters like Laracuente their rightful place in the annals of boxing history. ¡Viva, Belinda Laracuente!


Bernie McCoy. It’s What the Number Means (WBAN, December 8, 2008)

Mary Ann Lurie Owen. Extraordinary Women of the Ring (Kirographaires, 2010)   

Sharon Robb. Woman Hungry For Title (South Florida Sun Sentinel, January 17, 2003)

Warren Tasker. Mrdjenovich Wins Cat and Mouse Battle With NYC Counterpuncher ((Edmonton Journal, February 11, 2007)

Rick Wright. Brown Sugar Says Holly Boring (Albuquerque Journal, February 1, 2008)

Belinda Laracuente Profile (WBAN—accessed at

Belinda Laracuente Interview (WBAN, April 10, 2000)

Melissa Hernandez Profile (WBAN—accessed at

Christy Martin vs. Belinda Laracuente (YouTube, uploaded April 10, 2016)

Layla McCarter vs. Belinda Laracuente (YouTube, uploaded in 5 parts March 12, 2010)

Belinda Laracuente vs. Holly Holm IFBA Championship Belt (YouTube, uploaded July 30, 2011)

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