This Sunday, March 11, marked two years since the passing of Dr. Gilberto Mendoza, President Emeritus of the World Boxing Association (WBA), who devoted his entire life to Boxing and, above all, to protecting the athletes. Mendoza was in charge of the WBA from 1982 to 2015, year in which he resigned for health reasons. However, his legacy is always present.
During his years at the WBA, even before presiding over the organization, our President Emeritus made great changes in boxing such as: The first and only Norms and Procedures for Ratings, which still rules the activity in the sport, and the Supervisor Manual. In addition, he gave life to the KO Drugs Festival, which not only helps raise awareness and prevents young people from taking the wrong path, but has also given great world champions and opportunities to new boxers.
However, the biggest fight that this great sports leader undertook was for the boxers. He always defended the athletes, he demanded the best compensation and the fairest treatment for them because they are the protagonists of this sport. That is why, within the WBA, the premise of benefiting the boxer is still present.
Mendoza also participated in the fight against Apartheid, which led him to visit South Africa and Mandela’s hometown, with whom he would meet some time later. In addition, he belonged to the scouts, an institution in which he had a high level of diligence in Latin America.
Many boxers have sent a message to honor the memory of Mendoza.
Among the boxers, the names that stand out are: Jorge Linares, Lightweight Champion, Abner Mares, Featherweight Champion, and many others.
“Look, the truth is he was more than a boss, more than a friend, more than a father and a grandfather. He was someone who inspired me a lot since I started as an amateur in 2000-2001, I remember perfectly. Thanks to him, I was given the greatest opportunity in my life, that is why I am standing, I am firm and I am at the top today, as I always say. He drove me to where I am today. I remember that in 2001 I came to Japan for the first time, it was thanks to him, the World Boxing Association and the KO to Drugs program”, said Jorge Linares.
“I want to send a very special greeting to Gilberto Mendoza Sr. for everything he did for this organization, for everything he achieved, up to where he is at this moment. May God have him in His eternal glory”, said Abner Mares.
“I want to remember Mr. Gilberto Mendoza with a grand greeting. I remember greatly when I would talk to him… There was one fight, I think it was against Victor Ortiz, he gave me a nickname, ‘Lion’s Heart’ and I will always keep it in my memory”, said Marcos René Maidana.
“Mr. Gilberto Mendoza, the clearest example that when we have vision and work for the common good, our actions not only impact the people around us, but they will also impact the lives of many more”, said Hanna Gabriels.
“Today I want to talk a little about Mr. Gilberto Mendoza, always remembering him with a lot of love. He was an excellent person, a good friend, a very noble human being, a good father. I have so many anecdotes with him that, if I start telling them, I would never stop”, said Mayerlín Rivas.
“On March 3rd, I defended my WBA World Champion Title. For me, it is a big honor to fight in an organization with such a great history. I want to say Thank You, WBA, and especially Gilberto Mendoza. I know that soon it will be two years from the death of the father of Gilberto. I want to show respect to this big man who ruled the organization for more than 30 years”, said Dmitry Bivol.
We remember and celebrate the life of Gilberto Mendoza, a man who gave his body and soul in everything he did. Undoubtedly, his legacy is still present in all those people who love this beautiful sport.