By James Blears
The World Boxing Council Family this morning gathered at the grand old Basilica of Guadalupe to mark and honor the sixth anniversary of the passing of Jose Sulaiman Chagnon, who`ll forever be revered as a pioneer of Boxing, always striving to be the very best.
Every year at every ceremony it`s jam packed. Anyone who`s just a tad late, is consigned to standing room only, as the pews fill very quickly, with only budge up room.
Don Jose used to call the WBC a global family. The palpable evidence is in front of us at this gathering, with fighters, ex fighters, trainers, promoters, media, friends and of course family.
Approaching the cathedral, you`d be forgiven for thinking time has stood still, because its large clock unflinchingly indicates seven twenty, when in fact it`s closer to half past ten. Yet time has stood still for no man…or woman, in the span of these six years.
Back then and in the midst of raw fresh grief, Jose`s Granddaughter Monica delivered a poignant and tearful tribute to her beloved Abuelito. Today she has matured into an attractive poised young woman, who gave a confident and smiling tribute to the great man, saying he had such a passion for life, enjoying every moment and always dedicated to promotion of family and integration. Monica went on to say that Don Jose was noble, bringing hope into lives. How he enjoyed the company of friends and colleagues. He loved to talk, listen and laugh.
As the service started a bell started chiming Big Ben style, telling us it was eleven O clock. Beautiful choral music followed. At the end of the service, Beethoven`s Ode to Joy, a touch of vivant class that Don Jose would have really enjoyed.
Bishop George Abiyunes saying that Don Jose was a man of joy. This is not the end, rather a passage to eternal life. An illuminated transformation. He also urged the Congregation to offer prayers for Don Jose and others who have passed away.
Perhaps there`s no better one than mentioned in John Bunyan`s Pilgrim`s Progress…”Then he said, I am going to my Father`s, and though with great difficulty, I am got hither. Yet I do not repent me of all the trouble I have been at to arrive where I am. My sword I give to him, that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage, and my courage and skill to him that can get it. My marks and scars I carry with me, to be witness for me that I have fought his battles, who will now be my rewarder. So he passed over, and the trumpets sounded for him on the other side.”
A lasting image of Mauricio and Hector standing hand in hand with Dona Martha in front of the Alter. It symbolized family and unity that Don Jose taught us and which he so cherished.