SULAIMAN: “I Have No Skeletons in the Closet”

wbc-logo,jose sulaimanWho I am, and how I try.

I was listening to the news Friday night, when suddenly the Popo volcanoe of Puebla, seen from Mexico City, started sending continuous fiery and high exhalations of smoke with some erupting lava. It immediately came to my mind that just about this time, more than 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ was being massacred by the leather and steel latigos by the Roman soldiers. I had just seen the picture, “The Passion of Christ,” which I have seen about 10 times. It was so outrageously sad to see a good man being massacred by evil when he had come as the Son of God to bring peace and care for the poor. It is a shame that after thousands of years, the world has not changed.

It seems that all beings who work hard, struggle for life, and live for peace, who are victorious and who perform for good reform, are also massacred with aggression, disrespect, offence, envy, bitterness, jealousy, rancour and hate. Thanks to the Lord that Jesus' resurrection came as an indelible mark that over the bad, peace and good will always survive.

It also seems that Pope Francisco is a message from God to make human beings see that all of us are equal. That humbleness, compassion, charity and care for the poor and the sick are a must and the only way to live. I would say that it is here when all boxers come into the picture. They are born poor. They hardly have anything to eat and wear. They do not have education. They have good fists, a valiant heart, and go into the ring to start moving up to be stars – to get friends who will leave them when darkness comes. They are exploited by the “wise” people who come into their lives. When the lights of the ring do not shine anymore, they start going down until the time that they don't have money for a piece of bread, and only live with tears and dreams of their days of glory.

It is on the Christian, or any religion with faith as there is only one God, that we base our hopes to bring a remedy to those who were boxers and who live today in poverty. Boxing has found many compassionate people in life who have helped boxers in history. Today there are two who shine: Carlos Slim, with life pensions, including medical care, for 27 Mexican world champions, and Jean Claude Biver, with a Hublot watch auction of boxing stars that produced $1 million, who opened a bank account to start a fund to help boxers survive in their third age. It is here when the WBC will have a WBC World Cup of Professional Boxing starting in July, from which if there is any income, will go for the improvement of the Ex-Boxers Fund.

One other very important action was approved at the last convention in Cancun – of adding $1 per person coming to see a WBC fight so that with the help of our promoters, the pension fund will be enough for generations to come. Promoters, however, must do it voluntarily. There will not be any sanction fee of any kind, it will be with the work of the promoters of boxing to join the compassionate actions for the good of our boxers when they arrive at the land of nowhere and with nothing to live.

But well, boxing is boxing. It has been, it is, and it will always be boxing. We are on the verge of a generation transition when the great ones of the past are leaving, or on the way to do it, with new idols desperately needed for boxing to continue as greatly as it has been going. There will be many problems for the sport with no idols. Idols make history and build the industry of boxing.

There is one coming to the ring soon: Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, who is fighting the champion of the WBA, Austin Trout. Both are undefeated, Alvarez with 41 victories and Trout with 26. A fight with boxers having 67 victories and no losses, of which Canelo has won 30 by K.O. and Trout 14. That is, 67 victories, of which 44 are by K.O. …….. that is the fight !!

Canelo will have the opportunity to show his detractors what a great fighter he is. Trout will have the same opportunity to show that he is a real champion. The WBC has accepted the unification of the titles during his last convention, but with the condition that the winner and new champion will have 10 calendar days to decide which title he will keep, as he will not be able to keep both the WBC and the WBA. If the winner decides not to keep the WBC's, then the WBC super welter title will be declared vacant. This fight will be in San Antonio, Texas.

Next on May 4thFloyd Mayweather, the WBC welterweight champion, winner of five WBC titles and green and gold belts in different divisions – in addition, he made history by winning the WBC All-World Diamond Belt, and is regarded as the best boxer in the world today – will make a fight for the WBC undisputed championship against the WBC welterweight interim champion Robert Guerrero, who has shown to be a great fighter, and who fought and won the interim title due to the fact that the Great Mayweather was in a separation residence. This one will be in Las Vegas.

I left for the last a matter of great significance for me, after devoting 66 years of my life to boxing, of which I am close to 38 years as president of the WBC. My passing through boxing has been a very difficult and stressful one but also a very happy one, and in which I found many people in the world who got together in an unbreakable unity to change drastically the world of boxing, with valiant and decisive steps for reform.

I have found in my life a sector of USA writers who do not like me and continuously attack me for white or for black, many without even knowing me or exactly what I do. Fortunately, I have now good people who are giving me a chance in the country of my father's family, the USA. Massachusetts is the state of my family. Fall River is our city, close to where the WBC just offered the Rocky Graziano giant statue. I made my studies in the USA, and so have all of my sons and daughters. Now, even three of my grandchildren are doing the same, in Massachussetts of course, and in California. During the first years I felt very insulted, aggravated, mainly for my being painted for my family as an offensively criticised leader in boxing. Then I read President Harry S. Truman: “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” I started not caring and today I simply and absolutely do not care, but I deeply appreciate those that research what we do and write it.

I also have one or two in Mexico, as well. But one thing is saying what a writer thinks of what we do, and a different matter is he who lies, who cheats the readers, in the North or the South. So I will take the opportunity to state in this column that I have no skeletons in the closet. That there is no one, in the past or the present, who has given me even a cup of coffee in exchange of a favour, of which I have made many. If there is one, I am using this column, that is read in many countries of the world, to come and say it. If there was one, he would have thrown it in my face in any one of my 38 years as president. I will add that I have never, ever done any act of embarrassment that would make me unworthy of the confidence given to me by my dear friends in the WBC during the years of my term. I have never, ever, whatsoever, taken a step to purposely hurt anyone, under my word to my God. I have made many mistakes in my life as president. I am a human being, but not one in bad faith. I have taken all attacks from the press and my detractors with unwavering respect, and I will continue doing it for the rest of my life, so help me God.

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