By Mauricio Sulaiman – Son of Jose Sulaiman – WBC President
The intense rivalry between two great world boxing champions has come to an end. The Mexican Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez and the Kazakh Gennady “GGG” Golovkin celebrated the trilogy that resulted in a victory for our great champion and Pride of Mexico.
Thirty-six rounds of dedication, courage, passion and glory. Three fights, one draw and two wins for Canelo. That white heat of competition ended when the bell rang, and the greatness of this sport remains whole and intact, by demonstrating humility merging into a heartfelt hug full of respect and recognition for each other. If everything in life was like boxing, it would be a different world that we live in.
We lived a weekend in which Mexico celebrated with joy, after two years without a signifying event in Las Vegas due to the pandemic. But the Capital of Boxing rose once again clad in green, white and red. Alejandro Fernández was a great representative with his stirring performance in his two sold out concerts and his great surprise came as he appeared on the dressing room to do the ring walk singing alongside Canelo.
On Friday night, another ambassador from our country looked great, Carlos Santana. His music is a delight and the percussions by Karl Perazzo, together with the drummer, who is Santana’s wife, make music for eternity. On Friday at the end of the show, Santana received a replica of the Jaguar Warrior Zapotec belt, that work of art from the magnificent Oaxacan culture, which marked this event as a gift from Mexico and the World Boxing Council to the world.
Julio Cesar Chavez continues to be a tremendous attraction for fans, as crowds of people look for him for photos or autographs, and he, as always, is ready to be with his loyal fans. How marvelous is Julio, The Great Mexican champion.
For me, it was an unforgettable trip. My Dad was present more than ever, because the number of people who approached me and the majority either called me José or gave me beautiful words of remembrance of my dear father.
The migrants who left Mexico for the United States began the special celebrations on two specific dates, May 5 and September 16, with that nostalgia and everlasting love for their homeland, for their roots, they started to celebrate and eventually boxing began to be part of the festivities. It was in 1972 when the first Mexican warrior was crowned amidst these holidays. Gabriel Cordero published remembering this historic event, when Erubey “Chango” Carmona defeated the then WBC champion, Mando Ramos.
Thus, little by little, for 50 years the best fights have been taking place on these two dates. Salvador Sánchez, Julio César Chávez, Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Manuel Márquez, Sugar Ray Leonard, Oscar de la Hoya and Floyd Mayweather, dignified these dates until THE current KING arrived, Canelo Álvarez, who has starred in great fights honoring our festivities.
Canelo is a boxer who has grown impressively. A shy, red-haired boy with freckles from a large and humble family, came to the boxing gym to find those who would help to build his destiny and legacy: Chepo Reynoso and his son, Eddy Reynoso.
They took him and under their wing from the age of 14 and debuted him as pro when they saw that there was no structure in Mexico to seek an Olympic medal. Canelo was always fearless, facing whoever was put in front of him. He eventually started to get noticed for his natural charisma and when he got to television, he became a phenomenon.
Successful people experience many things that form their character. Canelo was the boxer for Televisa and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. for TVAzteca, the two most important television stations in Mexico. A great rivalry was generated. Canelo was crowned WBC Super Welterweight Champion and Chavez was crowned WBC Middleweight Champion. The rest is history, both took very different paths in life.
Throughout the years Canelo has had to face criticism that few could have endured. He suffered a setback losing to Floyd Mayweather, and very few would have been able to come back and get back on top. Canelo matured and flourished as a boxer and as a person and is an example for all of how with dedication, passion and focus you can become great in life.
He is one of the most professional and disciplined boxers I can remember. Always a week after the fight he returns to the gym and his work habits have not changed, he has never lost his humility, and his loyalty to the Reynosos, who together led him to glory. Eddy has been Trainer of the Year on several occasions, and it goes without saying all the awards that Saúl has won.
It was wonderful to experience the atmosphere at the T-Mobile Arena. A full house that celebrated the Mexican’s triumph and recognized the greatness of GGG. So many nights of glory that boxing has given to Mexico, this sport in which we are a world reference, which has given Mexico 13 Olympic medals and more than 200 world champions. Mexico has boxing as its national heritage sport.
Did you know?
One of the great fights on these national dates was when Floyd Mayweather, who was the WBC welterweight champion, went up to challenge the WBC super welterweight world champion, none other than Oscar de la Hoya.
It was an electric atmosphere for a long-awaited fight. To everyone’s surprise, Floyd came out wearing the green, white, and red colors of the Mexican flag and the traditional mariachi hat. That night, Floyd won over the Mexican fans. It was a truly great fight that was defined via a split decision in favor of Floyd, managing to conquer glory and thus take the baton from Oscar’s hands.
My dad loved Canelo very much. Ever since he met him, he had a special affection for him and always tried to give him advice and opened to him the WBC platform.
From the youth world championship, Latin championship, North America (NABF), Silver, to being crowned WBC world champion.
Canelo was the first member of the program that Don Carlos Slim and my father created, Ring Telmex-Telcel, which will celebrate 15 years of providing support to young boxing promises, so that they can totally dedicate themselves to this tough sport, having economic and structural support to reach so far. This program has already created 19 world champions!
My dad always came out to defend his Canelito in the face of all kind of criticism and was very happy to see how he came to stardom.
On one occasion at our traditional Sunday family meals, my brother, Héctor, asked him what he saw in that freckled boy. “My son, Canelo is going to be the next great Idol of Mexico, a superstar. He’s starting to have good fights, he still has things to learn, but he is on the right path, and he has that look in his eyes that only the greats one have. He is very brave and he has an iron jaw. You will see. Well, pass me a red sauce “memela” they are great!”
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