February 12, 2013 – Mexico City.
From the office of WBC President Dr. José Sulaimán:
The following is one of the weekly “Hook to the Liver” columns that are published in El Universal every Sunday. From February 10, translated from Spanish:
HOOK TO THE LIVER
By José Sulaimán
Many boxers today change pride for money.
Good order, loyalty, pride and respect to the rules in boxing has become very difficult in recent years due to the great importance and big influence of the money produced by the Big TV Corporations and the thirst only for money of some important promoters, who are somehow monopolizing boxing. Boxers are today convinced that the green color is the only matter that cares. Their question today is: How much, and who am I to meet? In the old days, it was: Where and when?
Back in 1968, only five years after the foundation of the WBC, we had in the traditional boxing city of Monterrey the fourth national convention of the Mexican Boxing Federation. Mexico had had only six champions of the world: Battling Shaw, Tamaulipas; Juan Zurita, Veracruz; Lauro Salas, Monterrey; Ultiminio Ramos, a nationalized-Cuban Mexican; Joe Becerra, Guadalajara; and still the hero at the time, Raul “Raton” Macías. They had to destroy the barriers of the past for a title opportunity and they won. They fought for pride and glory, more than for money.
The thoughts expressed above led me to think today of the past and present, and question the future. I had a pleasant conversation with four of the recent past boxing idols. They were Lupe Pintor, a destroyer with a heart of lion; former bantamweight champion Carlos Zárate, one of the greatest bantamweight champions of all time; “Chiquita” González, perhaps the greatest semi-flyweight champions ever; and Pipino Cuevas, a punching destroyer and welterweight champion.
Pintor said that boxing was not today what it was yesterday, as the past was for boxers to be waiting for the opportunity to become the best in the world of their division – everything else was secondary. He continued, saying that in boxing you want to be a champion, you want to show that you are the best. Whether you win more or less, he who doesn’t know how to keep his money, nobody else would help, as the promoters only care about how much they make.
Carlos Zárate said that at his time, he only wanted to know when and where was his next fight. That after reviewing history, all champions ended without money regardless of how much they won: all ended poor. He added that you can make multi-millions, but if you do not know how not to be exploited or careful, you will end like those who made only thousands, no exceptions.
Pipino Cuevas said that the worst thing for Mexican boxing was that the teachers and mentors of the past have all died: “Cuyo” Hernández, Pancho Rosales, and Lupe Sánchez have gone forever. Today, all of the trainers and managers of Mexico, do nothing but shout, “Time,” and wait for boxers only to throw punches. He ended by saying that in Mexico, boxers learn from seeing and fighting others.
Chiquita González said that his present life was the pride and honour to have been a WBC champion of the world, for which everybody recognised him, without caring how much he won and spent. (he has a couple of profitable business that give him more today than what he won in boxing). He ended by saying: nothing counts more in life than the pride of having been the best in the world. Money, he said, flies away – even many millions – if you don’t know how to have others not spend it for you. Thousands, well kept, can be the future, and that was how the conversations ran and ended: boxing of yesterday was really boxing. Today is only an spectacle for the money, the TV and the promoters’ shows.
The reality is that Powerful Mr. Money is now trying strongly to be more powerful than boxing itself as a sport. Even AIBA, the amateur organisation of about one century old, has decided to abandon amateurism and run into professional boxing with the thirst for money, money, money. I have faith in the future. I believe that when the money-men understand that money comes by boxing being what it is and not as an spectacle, they will sit down to discuss how we all together can work for the sport of our love, for opportunities for all without discrimination of race, religion or nationality, as a real opportunity for all, not a few, of those born in the of humblest beds, who rise from poverty to become the kings of boxing in the world and pride of their countries.
Thank you for reading my thoughts and, until next week… Do not forget to go to wbcboxing.tv for LIVE boxing on Saturday nights, and suljosblog.com every day – the blog of news, boxing articles, videos and everything else.