An emotional of so memorable tribute from the WBC and the entire boxing family, recognizing the wondrously great former world champion Carlos Zarate, a fighter blessed with prodigious power as a KO king, beloved by his family and campaneros and even befriended by his rivals after the dust had settled…WHAT A MAN! A dynamite hitting, ruthless fighter in the ring, and the kindest, nicest, most gracious decent man outside of it.
Originally from the Tepito, “Cañas” -as he is known in the world of boxing proved himself to be a champion of champions. His record was 66-4, 63 KO`s. This is the proof of the granite power in his fists. Great big hands which can still give you a breath-taking hug.
He had a brilliant career in amateur boxing winning the Golden Gloves, but his greatest glory was from his time as professional, starting with his debut in 1970. Carlos, who was WBC bantamweight champion, is today an example of struggle and perseverance, who knew the glory of boxing but also the hell of drugs. However today he can say that he forever defeated the worst enemy fourteen years ago . He`s a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame and an all-time great.
World Boxing Council President Mauricio Sulaiman said Carlos was his boyhood idol, and on the screen we saw a photo of himself as a child standing in the ring next to the victorious champion, who`d stopped his opponent via a badly cut eye.
Now involved in boxing administration especially organizing tournaments for young people, Carlos who was immaculate in a dark grey suit, a white shirt and a gaudy striped tie was presented with the coveted WBC Champions Bracelet. Much more convenient than lugging a huge full sized belt around all day long. He said;
“I feel very full and happy, today I am here with great friends, my boxing family, my beloved wife; It is incredible to know and realize that I am still present in the lives of so many people and in their memories.
“Impossible to adequately thank everyone for this special moment. So many memories come to mind but above all the man whom I consider a father, to whom I owe my career and my recovery, of course I am referring to my dear Don José, I know that He is here, taking care of us, with us at every step. Thanks to all of you and especially to my wife, to whom I owe everything”
Beside every great champion, is an even greater woman. Nelly, wife of the great champion, was honest with everyone present at this tribute and recalled that there were some very difficult years but thanks to God and Don José, her husband got ahead and today he is a new, healthy and happy man. A huge cheer when she was presented with a so well-deserved champion`s medal with a beautiful green sash. Who`s the Champion?!!
Like Carlos, Nelly fondly remembered Don José, a man whom she said was a father to him, she added that all children need their parents.
She finally thanked Mauricio Sulaimán, who has wonderfully followed in the footsteps of his father.
To continue with the surprises, the boxing family also celebrated the birthday of our hero by singing to him and he blew out its candle. He`s an expert at blowing out candles! Carlos who`s a sweet tooth also took a bite out of it, when he thought no one was looking. He also shared his cool fresh packet of mints with Carlos Cuadras. What a breath of fresh air.
After the ceremony, applause and cheering Carlos said: “It`s such a very special day which is full of emotions. I admire Mauricio Sulaiman who`s continuing the greatness of his father Don Jose. I`m so happy to be in the company of my friends and boxing people today.
“I was blessed with great power, which I think I was born with. I also started boxing when I was very young. Becoming a WBC champion was my greatest satisfaction. My power was also helped by my dedication to training. And God also granted me… a rather skinny person such power.”
Also a marvelous tribute from Carlos` friend Bernabe Palma. Film actor, double, promoter and speaker of note, he was splendidly attired in a lime green suite. He almost stole the show, but not quite because the quiet, modest man who was standing by his side is a CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS. The one and only….Carlos Zarate!