To dream and remember is to live again. I come back to some of those moments of the past that you never change and open a new window of life, especially to those that think that the best is gone, when you can come back with the past of your life and feel strong as ever. By the way, I am listening at this moment to the prodigious and immortal voice of the queen of songs in France, Edith Piaf, singing the eternal “Rien du Rien” which, in spite of so many years, it still awakens your heart and your mind.
Quite some years ago, I left for Europe to be at the great fight in Montecarlo between the great Carlos Monzón and the tough, also champion, Rodrigo Valdez, from Colombia. I took with me, to continue for a vacation, my two sons, Pepe and Hector, as well as my nephew Antonio Esper, who were from 15 to 17 years old at the time.
I met in Montecarlo a very dear friend, Omar Sharif, the star of Doctor Zhivago who had as a hobby managing a couple of boxers. He was very popular, especially with women, and when we were dining, a couple of beautiful ladies dropped at his side of the table the key of their hotel room. I also met Prince Rainier, who liked boxing so much that he had a special box where he liked to watch the fights, but to whom I apologized as I had to seat by the ring apron.
Some friends had advised me not to take my wallet or money to the fight as there were rumors that there would be some pickpocket stars at the stadium, but I noticed on my way to the fight that I had forgotten to leave my wallet, with my credit cards and a couple of dollars, at the hotel. During my entrance and the time that I as siting by the ring, I continuously touched my wallet with my hand to make sure that it was there.
It was a great fight. Valdez dropped Monzón with a right to the jaw, which hadn’t happened for years, raising the fans with surprise and excitement, but with the greatness of Carlos Monzón winning a fight that had the fans always on their feet due to the strong Valdéz who fought to the end like a lion. I jumped into the ring to present the green WBC belt to the retaining champion Monzón, still touching my pocket, and also went to congratulate Valdéz for his courageous performance. I was very excited when I went back to my seat and touched my pocket … the wallet and money were gone!
Once back in Paris, I took my children the the famous show, “Crazy Horse,” which I regretted later. The taxi that was driving us to the hotel convinced my boys to take them to a place supposedly where the Crazy Horse girls used to go. Obviously, I refused to allow them, but was convinced by a companion and the taxi driver to let them go. I strongly advised them to take care, to behave, and be careful with their money. They returned to the hotel without money and walking. They had taken from them even the last penny.
Omar Shariff wanted me to recommend a good boxer from Mexico, who were known to be fighters as courageous as few others, as his fighter had not been successful. I recommended to him a young kid, who was not very well-known at the time, but who I thought that some day he would make it as a champion. His name was Julio César Chávez, but Omar told me that the super feather boxers were not too popular in Europe and that he would prefer a heavier boxer. Chávez, of course, became the greatest Mexican boxer ever. He won three championships in three different divisions against the very best. He had 37 world title fights – next to him is Joe Louis with 27. Chávez stayed 14 years and 91 professional fights undefeated and more than 10 years as a world champion without ever losing a fight, plus $60 million won in purses, with the promotion and guidance of another great, Don King.
Moving now to my dearest Mexico, I would like to express my disillusion, outrage, and my sympathy to all the relatives of those innocent people assassinated by barbarians, animals, and cowardly criminals who set a casino on fire recently in my beloved city of Monterrey. I hope that they are hung by their testicles at the Macro Plaza.
I am sure that all Mexican members of the WBC and all the Mexican boxing fans join me in extending our modest but strong support to the President of Mexico, as well as the Governors and all Mexicans to bring to justice those criminals murderers of innocent people.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV