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BOXING’S AMBASSADOR OF POSITIVITY


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By DEBORAH HAWKINS

Big congratulations to the recent inductee into the West Coast Boxing Hall of Fame, Bill Caplan.  
Bill is everybody’s favorite publicist – and as his good friend Don Chargin calls him, The Dean of All PR Guys.   If you don’t know Bill, it is because he is busy behind the scenes working with all the writers in our sport.  
He currently serves as publicist for the WBC and for Golden Boy Promotions.  If you run into Bill, ask him about any fight or any fighter from the last 6 or 7 decades and he will have an interesting story and insight to share.  
Bill Caplan grew up loving sports of all kinds, but his Dad had no interest in sports.  Except one – boxing.  The two of them bonded over it, listening to the fights on the radio.  A big hero for the U.S. and favorite for both of them was the great Joe Louis.  Bill’s first job in boxing was in 1962, working part time for him, thanks to Bill’s brother-in-law, Larry.  Larry was 25 years older than Bill and saw an opportunity for the young man; Lewis called him “Brother-In-Law”.
By the next year, Caplan was working full time in boxing.  He has since worked at most of the major categories in the sport – publicist, promoter, matchmaker, ring announcer.  He also has worked some fringe jobs, including actor, advisor, and friend.  They all have made an impact on many.
 Bill says he has worked with every great fighter over his career.  When you are working for the top promoters and the top fighters and the top writers, you can’t avoid knowing them all on some level.  
But here is where the interview with Bill about Bill becomes difficult.  He can’t keep the conversation focused on himself.  He starts talking about the amazing people he has, and does, work with and all of their accomplishments.  He tells me his best friends are in the sport of boxing and in the media.  Their successes are what he brags about.  
Take for instance George Foreman.  Bill first met George after the Heavyweight’s first loss.  It was during his amateur fights, but he took it hard.  Bill gave him words of encouragement, told him not to give up, and that began a lifelong friendship.  
 Bill was part of Foreman’s team in Zaire, Africa as the heavyweight faced Ali.  After Foreman lost, Bill went to his corner – where George sat alone – and told him he was going to be okay.  Later in the dressing room, Foreman announced, “I have found true friendship tonight.  I found a true friend in Bill Caplan”.  When Bill and Sandy Caplan, married 60 years now, renewed their wedding vows, Foreman officiated.  
The next words that spill out of Bill are about Oscar De La Hoya.  His enthusiasm for the Golden Boy is overwhelmingly loving and full of admiration.  Again, he wants to tell me about the kindness and generosity  that others don’t always have privy to see.  But Caplan wants the world to know the heart of this world famous former fighter, current promoter.
There is no shortage of praise for the World Boxing Council.  He first became friends with Jose Sulaiman and has excitedly followed Mauricio Sulaiman’s rise through the ranks and now his presidency.  In Bill’s eyes, it is the greatest tribute to a father to have his child succeed and continue the legacy.  He also lists all of the good will and generosity carried on by the organization, unparalleled anywhere else in the world of boxing.
Bill Caplan is a unique person who has dedicated his life to make other’s life different. His warm smile and passionate loyalty makes the difference whether at happy moments or during difficult ones.  Uncle Bill took me and my brother Fernando to Disneyland when I was 8 and such memories remain in my mind and heart and today, as President of the WBC, Bill Caplan has been my strongest supporter and helped me as no one else could in providing a positive image of the WBC and myself through his masterful work in Public Relations – Mauricio Sulaiman
I asked Bill Caplan about the secret to his positive attitude.  “You must be positive in Public Relations.  I never lie to a journalist.  Promoters, coaches, managers lie.  But I have not and will not”.  So they all trust him.    
Speaking of best friends, they all have stories, but the priceless ones come from Don Chargin.  Don has spent more than 60 years as a matchmaker.  When asked about some interesting facts on Bill, he had plenty!  
Bill can sing!  He has a marvelous voice.  At our shows, we have him sing the National Anthem.  It’s one of the highlights of the evening.  He has also been a ring announcer for years and really gets the crowd into it.  He will say, “Come on, I can’t hear you!” And he can play the Ukulele – he’s very good at it.  I will never forget when Boza Edwards, under our promotion, fought in Stockton, California against Bazooka Lemone.  On the airplane ride home (most of the people on the plane were our group) Bill had everybody on the plane singing – including Boza and his promoter, Mickey Duff. Bill made everybody sing, whether they could sing or not!
I have known Bill since the 60’s.  His brother-in-law introduced us when he was working for Joe Louis.  Lorraine (Don’s late wife and business partner) is the one who started calling him Memo.  She loved Bill/Memo!
Bill is a great PR guy.  He knows more about publicity than anyone around.  – Don Chargin
The stories are endless.  And never boring, whether they come from Caplan or are about Caplan.  No wonder he is in the California Boxing Hall of Fame, World Boxing Hall of Fame, West Coast Boxing Hall of Fame, and the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

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