From the office of WBC President Dr. José Sulaimán:
The following is one of the weekly “Hook to the Liver” columns that have been published in El Universal every Sunday for the last five years and written by WBC President Jose Sulaiman.
This column was written by his children – Pepe, Lucy, Hector, Fernando, Mauricio, and Claudia – while he recovers from surgery. From October 27, translated from Spanish:
HOOK TO THE LIVER
“A Moment in Life Which Will Never Return” – definition of photography by Jose Sulaiman
Days keep going by in the same waiting room of the Intensive Care Unit – now our friends at the hospital are saying it should be named “Sulaimans Waiting Room” because we have taken possession of it. Our beloved dad has begun to ask for things, a sure sign of recovery, and things are looking better. Don José is now reorganizing his strategy for the rest of the fight and his plan is working.
Since the day we arrived, we noticed that the clock in the waiting room wasn’t working and it stayed that way for several days. Then we thought of the possibility of making it work again when our dad left the hospital, but the day Don Jose showed an important recovery, our mom said it was the moment to get it fixed – that way, our dad would also keep it up. We placed new batteries, the clock started working, and his health is now improving faster than before, even when we now understand this will be a long recovery journey .
Don José is very passionate about life and he has dedicated his life to work for people. He is tireless, but as sensitive as he is, he has an artistic side to him that goes beyond simple admiration of works of art – he is an extraordinary photographer. He has captured the colors of the world and his images show how acutely he observes things and people.
It was our grandfather who gave him his first camera and since he was very young, he started photographing his family, friends, and the street of Valles City, where he used to live. We witnessed this passion since we where little because he always had his camera with him. First we were his models. He would ask us to sit for countless hours and photographed us wearing different outfits – he would change the scenery in the back and even the position of the lamps to cause various effects. Later on we became his assistants and we carried the case with the lenses and film. He often surprised us, doing things we considered kind of crazy, because we would lay down on his tummy in the middle of the highway to Puebla to capture the perspective of the central lines.
Our dad has had the chance to travel around the world. The WBC’s annual convention takes place in different countries every year and, except for the last few years, he always took his camera along. These conventions have been a very appropriate way to show his work as a photographer, and have allowed him to mount three exhibitions of the same. People would usually be impressed at how a man that handles of matters and problems in the complex world of boxing could have the sensibility to capture such beautiful scenes, and mostly the expression and emotions on the faces of the so many different people he portrayed. The possibilities of observing the world are infinite and our dad has the eye to capture the small details generally unseen to the people in general.
He always photographed in color because the world in rich in it, though his first pictures are in black and white. Color brings an expressive element to show his particular vision of the world. But there is a strange detail concerning his photography phase – pictures of boxing are rare. He has very few, two or three takes of Ali and the people in his corner, and that is it. Outside the ring he photographed people that work with him in the WBC and friends. For the convention in Mexico, an exhibit was organized and for that, a book of his pictures was printed and where a phrase that gathers the style and vision he had of his images was included: “An instant in life that will never come back”.
Don José is also passionate about art – he likes painting and sculpture. There are two characters he admires most, Christ and Don Quijote, and he has quite a collection of both in his home. He has read Don Quijote de la Mancha several times and we kind of see the similarities in his life, since some facts in the boxing world seem like madness and always against the wind, all of them being always for the benefit of the boxer and sport in general. Lowering the fights from 15 to 12 rounds brought many attacks and severe critiques, especially from foreign television networks, but he never desisted nor took a step back in any of his many actions and decisions.
He loves to read, mostly biographies, and his library is full of books about boxing, baseball, art and geography. The fact that he writes this column every week completes the cycle initiated through his reading and as we said before, he has done it most passionately. As good a reader as he is, his conversation is passionate – he can talk about anything, and he has anecdotes and stories for every occasion. He never complains about anyone, and his actions are always for the good of all and in every aspect of his life. He has been working on his memoires for a while. We hope these will turn into a book that we can share with you, who are a very important part of his life.
From his corner, we, as his children, are watching our dad fight like a real champion – with an eye closed, he is winning the last rounds of his fight and we are anxious to raise his hand and put his championship belt back on.
Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for the continuous support, and care for our dad and our family .
Until next week!