The following is the last of the weekly “Hook to the Liver” columns that were 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. From January 19, translated from Spanish:
Today we thank God for giving us the opportunity to enjoy the possibility to say goodbye to our father after these two months when he had a great improvement since, against all odds, managing to survive 23 days in a coma in critical condition in the month of October.
Our mommy, six children and 14 grandchildren talked, laughed, played, dreamed and remembered while we accompanied him during his difficult time in the hospital. He returned to say goodbye and give us 60 days of his life.
Also, his dearest and closest friends and beloved Champions managed to sit down and talk with him for one last round. He was visited by: Muhamad Ali, Mike Tyson, Julio Cesar Chavez, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Sugar Ray Leonard, Oscar de la Hoya, Vitali Klitschko, Erik Morales, Jeff Fenech, Abner Mares, Leo Santa Cruz, Gabriel Ruelas, Jorge Arce, Mia St. John, Ruben Castillo, Adrian Hernandez, Carlos Cuadras, his dear friend Don King and other promoters, including Akihiko Honda, Salvador Briman, Al Haymon, Richard Schaeffer, Eric Gomez, Gary Shaw, Dan Goossen, Don Majeski, Sampson Lewkowicz, Pepe Gomez, Vlad Wharton, Tom Loeffler, and many, many, many other friends of the boxing world.
Don Carlos Slim spent a wonderful afternoon visiting his friend, and both invited each other to keep dreaming and keep looking to change the world for the better.
We were able to live magical moments where the admiration towards our father attained an unreachable summit. He conquered the hearts and great admiration of all the doctors, nurses and therapists at the Intensive Care Unit. He always had a smile for everyone. Even though he suffered a lot with various treatments, he always ended by saying “thank you” and gave them a smile. From the first day, before the surgery, he told everyone, “Do everything you have to do, don’t even ask, go ahead.” He was a patient who made his mark, a case that caused surprise, admiration and finally such sadness to all and sundry in the unit's hospital in UCLA.
It was a great pleasure to live and experience the multiple calls, messages, letters and actions by countless people who filled our hearts with love and friendship and the mind with such faith and hope. Each and every one gave us such strength to fight relentlessly next to our dear father … OUR MAGNIFICENT HERO. To all of them we give our deepest gratitude forever. Hopefully one day we can reciprocate your kind attention.
Christmas was always the happiest day of the year in the life of Jose Sulaiman. Thanks to God and his valiant effort, he could go down to a room the hospital let us use and there he told us the story of the three wise men, a lifelong family tradition, and certainly this was the most moving moment that will remain stored and cherished in our hearts. That night, he returned to his hospital room and four days later, entered the state from which he never awoke, leaving a life full of joy, understanding, love, example, education, values, and all one can say about the best father, husband, son, brother, grandfather, friend that has ever existed.
Daddy, thanks for giving us life, thank you for giving your life. Life will never, ever be the same without you but we vow, you will always be present in every throb of our hearts. May God keep you in his glory.
Today this column ends. This is the last Hook to Liver. Thanks to the readers who shared this with our Father, who never failed to write his column wherever he was in the world. Thanks to his friend Francisco Ealy Ortiz for inviting him to write his beloved “Hook to the Liver.”
The final bell rang; JOSE SULAIMAN, winner by unanimous decision! 1931-2014.