January 28, 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 January 27, translated from Spanish:
HOOK TO THE LIVER
By José Sulaimán
THE TRUE VALUE OF LOYALTY
This was another sad week for me. The dog of one my grandchildren passed away. It made me think about what true loyalty is. A dog is man’s best friend – the most loyal in the world.
In boxing, loyalty is something that is disappearing little by little. Now almost everything is about money.
Long gone are the days when boxing was a matter of glory, honor, and pride to represent your country. Now, most of the fighters just care about their earnings. But that’s not the saddest part of all of this. What is even sadder is that they spend all of those big purses they earn on fairweather “friends” and on nonsense stuff, to end up just as poor, if not even poorer, than when they began their careers.
This is not very often seen by the fans or the media. They just glimpse the passion and the effort inside the ring. What happens to the boxer after he finishes fighting is ignored.
I have seen this hundreds of times. A young gifted boxer through great effort conquers the title. With the great purses come fake friends who use fighters to get their money. The boxer spends great amounts of that money, thinking it can all be gotten back in the next fight, until there is no other fight. And when this happens, the fake friends melt away and the boxer finds no help from those who once used to be around in championship days, when the going was good.
This is why I greatly admire Mr. Carlos Slim, Mr. Jean-Claude Biver, and all those people who have helped boxers who’ve fallen on hard times by creating a fund to aid those who gave glory to this sport we all so love.
Boxing, as we know it, has at least 300 years of existence. An even earlier form of it began in the Roman circus. Many centuries later it arrived to England, where it was held in elite clubs, to then be something forbidden by the law. It traveled to Boston and then onwards, integrating into more than 165 nations which are affiliated to the WBC.
Boxing is a sport for everybody. Boxing has fans which range from the richest to the poorest.
In order to further develop the passion we possess and cherish for the sport we love, the WBC will hold a World Cup, where the champions from the 10 Continental Federations that represent the 165 affiliated countries to the WBC plus the international and silver champions will participate. The prizes for the winners will be of over $500,000 (US), besides turning them into the mandatory challenger for the champion of their respective division.
It’s time to end the tragic cycle of former champions falling into misery. It’s time and it’s apt that boxing fans just don’t pay their ticket to enjoy one night of boxing, but also do something to help our idols so that they can keep living with dignity when they are unable to fight any longer.
Thanks and until next week.