By Mauricio Sulaimán – Son of José Sulaimán & President of the WBC
This past Sunday Mexican Formula 1 Super Star, Sergio ‘Checo’ Pérez, added another great achievement to his career as que made the podium with third place in the Mexico City Grand Prix. Checo already has 25 podium places in his career in the highest category of motorsports.
Checo Perez is a phenomenon he is just wonderful. Mexico has always found in sports an outlet to feel pride; Hugo Sánchez and his glories at Real Madrid; Fernando Valenzuela and his feats in the Dodgers, and Julio Cesar Chavez, who always crowded the Angel of Independence when he fought, as thousands of people would gather around the monument to celebrate his victories.
Today Saúl Álvarez, Julio Urías and Checo are the ones who move the passion and glory, among other great stars of Mexico.
The Mexico City Grand Prix is great for our country and Mexico City. Sold out hotels, restaurants with maximum occupancy and an economic impact that is difficult to calculate. But it’s not just economics, it’s reaching all corners of the world by showing the greatness of our nation: Mexico.
It will be our turn next week, when the boxing world will gather in Acapulco to celebrate the 60th Annual Convention of the WBC. A large number of champions, promoters, commissioners and officials representing the 170 affiliated countries will be arriving at the port for an intense week. This convention will be memorable as we have prepared a full agenda of work and many special surprises to all.
This past Saturday there was again great boxing activity in various rings. Once again, we were able to witness the power of women with two cards in which women starred in the main events. In England, Katie Taylor retained her undisputed lightweight world championships by defeating Argentina’s Karen Carbajal by unanimous decision.
In Mexico City, Yamileth Mercado retained her WBC Super Bantamweight title by defeating legendary star Mariana Juárez.
In New York, Vasiliy Lomachenko returned succesfully; He achieved a unanimous victory against Jamaine Ortiz, and won the lightweight championship of the North American Boxing Federation, NABF which is the continental federation affiliated to the WBC.
Finally, in Phoenix, a fight took place that managed to attract the attention of millions of boxing fans, but more than that, ordinary individuals who follow the footsteps of influencer Jake Paul.
This controversial youtuber, who found a passion in boxing and has dedicated himself body and soul to doing it , achieved his sixth victory as pro fighter against the legendary former UFC champion, Anderson Silva.
Paul is controversial, many watch his fights expecting him to lose and be ridiculed, but he wins. On Saturday he showed that he is a real fighter. What he does outside the ring is his problem, but inside the string he has earned the respect of the boxing community.
Did you know…?
There have always been boxing fights involving celebrities from other sports or entertainment. One of the first of this kind took place in Tokyo, when Muhammad Ali fought 15 rounds against the recently deceased Antonio Inoki, who spent the entire fight lying on the canvas, throwing kicks, to end in a draw!
Cowboys star Ed “ Too Tall “ Jones had six wins in professional fights and retired but remains a huge avid boxing fan; José Canseco, the baseball slugger, got into the ring and took a beating, not wanting to come back; the Hollywood actor, Mickey Rourke, had several fights in Japan filling the arenas with his fans and so the story goes that there will always be interest in getting into the ring by personalities from other fields.
Well, let’s continue with convention anecdotes. In 1988, in Mexico City, a great event was held. Don King brought in Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson, who was the world heavyweight champion at the time, in his prime and considered unbeatable. Having them in Mexico was a dream come true. After the opening ceremony at the former Hotel Aristos, the bus left headed to the traditional Arroyo Restaurant.
There were right there in the same bus King, Tyson, Ali, Ratón Macías, Julio Cesar Chávez, Jose Mantequilla Napolis and more champions plus members of the Board of Governors, along with my dad. It turns out that the driver liked boxing a lot; he was a big fan and couldn’t believe what he was experiencing. Suddenly a taxi made an awful manoeuvre cutting across us and they started yelling at each other threatening to fight; They clambered out of their respective vehicles and started slugging. Our bus driver was cheered by all champions and managed to defeat the taxi driver who returned to his car with a black eye! Our driver returned to his seat like a world champion who had just defended his title, cheered and celebrated by all these legends.
That same day when I got to Arroyo, my dad told me: “My son,Please take care of Ali. Wait for me here, I’m going to arrange and sit Tyson on his table and I will come back to get my dear hero Ali, as the crowd is putting a lot of pressure on them”. Obediently, I stood next to the greatest in history, who told me that he was very hungry; innocently, I saw a large “chicharron” ( pork shrines ) typical of the Restaurant Arroyo, I cut a large piece and give it to him. After three bites, while chewing and enjoying that Mexican delicacy, he asks me “what is this?”, “Pork”, I replied, and he starts spitting and rubbing his mouth with his hand. I didn’t know that Muslims didn’t eat pork… Ali, seeing my great concern, hugged me and told me that there was no problem….
To close with that historic day, all the attendees went to the restaurant’s bullring, and some of the champions went down to the floor which is all dirt. Don Chucho Arroyo taught Tyson what cockfighting is like, and he became a gallero against El Ratón Macías. Everything was joy until a door opened and a heifer came out of there, she started to trot, to be honest she was small, but Tyson, seeing her, started running and made a spectacular jump reaching the grandstand and getting to safety.
After three days in Mexico, as we sat during dinner at an Italian restaurant, Mike whispered in my ear, “ Man Im tired of being around old people, your father, Don King and all those others, can we go out somewhere fun?” , Of course Miguel, that is how I have always called Mike, once we drive to the hotel, you enter with them and I will wait on my car withe back door open, just run and jump and we will drive away…. Memorable night which details I will leave for another time ……
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