The document we are presenting is not a simple opinion, but rather reveals the feelings that characterized our Honorary President Mr. José Sulaimán throughout his life. In this chapter, it can be verified what he commented on that terrible day of September 11, 2001, that in fact came to change a lot of what we had been,
From pain to the passion of boxing
José Sulaimán Chagnón
I would say that the new city of the New World, New York, intertwined my destiny.
My father, Don Elías Sulaimán, had in his hands in 1921 a ticket to arrive from Beirut, Lebanon, his native land, to America and at the port of New York, where he would meet his parents who lived in Boston, Massachusetts.
Don Elías changed his passage to join a group of six friends who were coming on another ship, also to America. This was another era in history, when brave and intrepid emigrants left the land of their love behind in search of a new destination, to become part of the new world. Blessed be their destiny.
After 39 days at sea, they finally reached the shores of the dreamed of America, oh surprise! It was not New York, it was Veracruz, Mexico, right there, in the midst of the final stage of the Mexican Revolution that received them with bullets.
My father could not cross the border for four years to meet his parents, but in return he met the love of his life, my mother, in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, where he got married and that is how I was born, as product of that geographical error that charted my destiny. New York would play such an important part in my life.
In New York I spent some of the most dramatic and stressful days, defending the WBC in a very famous “antitrust” case in which that old boxing fox, promoter Teddy Brenner, sued us; in New York I received from the United Nations the greatest honour of my life, for our fight against racial discrimination; from New York, two of my great baseball idols, the sport of my soul, in my early youth, Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio; in New York I have lived part of my life intensely and I have always listened with deep emotion to: “New York, New York” song that Frank Sinatra immortalized.
That is why I humbly accepted my “debut and farewell” in the world of journalism, the invitation of my friend Daniel Esparza, when he learned of my recent decision to fly to New York to sanction a fight just a few days after that savage attack that destroyed the towers of the WTC, taking thousands of innocent lives by crazed barbarian fanatics, who marked September 11, a perishable time of mourning, for more than 68 countries that lost their peoples.
Against the will of many, I decided to travel to New York six days after the attack, accompanied by my son Pepe, who without being able to deny his cultural background shaved his beard in these times of such sorrow. During the three hours recommended in Mexico before boarding, we needed only 30 minutes, and then travelled very comfortably in a 757 jumbo jet with only 27 passengers. We arrived in New York at a semi-empty airport, getting into the streets in less than 20 minutes! Contrary to the announcements of a thousand revisions, which promised six hours of paperwork.
The depressing spirit throughout the city was evident, evidenced by desolate streets. We missed the bustle of other pedestrians to get to the corner first and to be able to cross to the next street; Empty restaurants and in four of the five we went to, the waiters invited us to come back “and please bring friends,” they told us. Several bomb threats impeded the entry of vehicles to the island and inspection posts were set up in the entrance tunnels and bridges. The collective terror was joined by the Israelite celebrations of Yom Kippur or day of forgiveness, and the streets were completely emptied.
A frustrated visit to “Ground Zero” did not prevent us from seeing the columns of dark smoke that rose over the buildings. In the city there is no chaos, but peace, tranquility and solidarity towards the people who work in the rescue teans, wherever they go they are welcomed as heroes of the people, a situation very similar to that experienced in our country during the earthquake of 1985.
Each fire station has altars, flowers and photos of the fallen with the collapse of the buildings; the subway stations are full of photos and thoughts of the thousands of innocents who perished in the attack. But the city lives, people want to continue and build their dignity “life goes on” and last weekend the streets were filled with people who went out to enjoy their city, their freedom and we were all well received. New York was beginning to live again.
A month before the fight, in an inexplicable act at a massive press conference at the Hiram Bithor Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Bernard Hopkins snatched the island’s flag from Tito Trinidad’s hands, trampling it on the ground making all people furious.
With the New York tragedy that made so many hearts mourn, just a few days after the incident in Puerto Rico, it electrified the atmosphere to such a level that serious concern of violence among the public spread, which fortunately diminished, due to the postponement of the fight until September 29.
On Saturday night, the packed Madison Square Garden roared for Tito and booed for Hopkins, both impressive.
From the first round Tito went all out for the KO and Hopkins chose to box. The story was emprinted right there. From there the door leading to twelve rounds was ajar. Hopkins always active, never static, jabbing like an old master, invariably connecting, moving sideways proving an elusive target.
Trinidad created a great moment in the sixth round, when he unloaded and landed hard punches on Hopkins. From the seventh round onwards, one boxer dominated. Hopkins, who, realizing in the sixth round that the best punches that Trinidad threw did not damage him, rained down upon him in the last round a cascade of punches.
We were sad to see so many people crying, we thought that passion had exceeded the line of reason, for those who believed that the loser had been his homeland, and not a boxer.
This time the mind dominated the heart. Calculating coolness dominated raw courage. The myth that “a boxer who gets angry loses” was perpetuated. On this occasion, smart boxing surpassed the strike force. Skill trumped power.