Boxing, a different sport

By Mauricio Sulaimán
President of the WBC – Son of José Sulaimán

It has been difficult for me to write this column, after the terrible tragedy that occurred in Tijuana.

While the tenth round was underway, the trainer and husband of Sabrina Pérez, from Argentina, suffered a devastating heart attack; He received timely medical attention by the local boxing commission, but very unfortunately Diego Arrua died minutes later after arriving to the hospital.

May he rest in peace and his memory be eternal! I wish to express my gratitude to Juan Carlos Pelayo, Nancy Rodríguez, César Castañón and the entire boxing community that supported Sabrina and Gustavo. They have travelled to Buenos Aires, and are now in the company of family and friends awaiting the arrival of beloved Diego.

We must point out the exemplary treatment provided by Matchroom and Bxstrs, promoters of the event, to attend to all the needs of Sabrina and her team during this horrible and tragic incident.

Last Saturday the Viva México! Chant resounded all over, but unfortunately it was absent from the boxing world in Las Vegas.

By delaying the signing of his new contract, Saul Canelo Álvarez lost the date that has belonged to him for many years, and the UFC, charged in and promoted this traditional event. In the main fight, Mexican Alexa Grasso defended her UFC championship.

I was very happy to see the commemorative belt that the UFC prepared and gave to Alexa Grasso, a beautiful sash, based on Oaxacan culture. These commemorative belts that the WBC started in 2017, have gone around the world, admired for their beauty, and are in themselves a gift from boxing and Mexico to the world.

So many nights of glory have been presented commemorating this weekend of traditional celebration, since our Mexican nationals who live in the United States, decades ago, established it on May 5 and September 16.

Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Miguel Cotto, Vernon Forrest, Roberto Durán, and even Tyson Fury came to fight on this Mexican date, in addition to many other compatriots who met in various US rings, such as: Rubén El Púas Olivares, Chango Carmona, Salvador Sánchez, Bazooka Limón, Chiquita González, Ricardo López, Israel Vázquez, Jhonny González, Juan Manuel Márquez, Marco Antonio Barrera, José Luis Castillo and many others.

Historic battles took place:

  • Muhammad Ali vs. Leon Spinks II.
  • Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Thomas Hearns.
  • Julio César Chávez vs. Azabache Martínez.
  • Erik Morales vs. Junior Jones.
  • Oscar de la Hoya vs. Fernando Vargas.
  • Floyd Mayweather vs. Saul Alvarez.
  • The trilogies of Canelo vs. GGG.

This date has passed from boxer to boxer, year after year, counting on continuous participation and being the owners of this date:

  • Floyd Mayweather (five).
  • Julio C. Chávez (five).
  • Óscar de la Hoya (six).
  • Canelo Álvarez (seven).

The most prominent topic of last week is one of great concern. The World Boxing Council has worked for 60 years to humanize and reform our sport.

A fortune has been invested in scientific studies to find information that leads to improve the rules for the care and safety of our athletes. Thus, world championship fights were lowered from 15 to 12 rounds, and international and regional championship fights from 12 to 10 rounds; The official weigh-in takes place 24 hours before, and not on the day of the fight. The ring has four ropes and not three, the six-ounce glove was eliminated, the design and implementation of mandatory medical examinations, anti doping tests, life and medical insurance coverage in all WBC fights, as well as a host of precautionary measures.

The WBC has also dedicated 25 years to the regulation, promotion and administration of women’s boxing. Specific rules for the care of our ring warriors. Many studies, work papers and scientific information are used to protect women’s physical integrity as much as possible.

It is a fact that women and men have a large number of physical, physiological, hormonal and other differences. The vast majority of sports have different rules for their corresponding activity, and boxing is no exception; We have to always keep in mind that in other sports you look for goals, sets, baskets or points, boxing is a contact sport, and you can’t play boxing!

These rules, like mandatory pregnancy testing, have prevented potentially tragic situations. The rounds are two minutes and a maximum of 10 rounds, but why?

There is a sacred rule used to implement boxing safety: dehydration + fatigue + blows = potential serious injury.
The longer the fight lasts, the more risky it is for the boxer’s health. It is proven that women have a more frequent risk of brain concussions due to their spinal structure, which is why the World Boxing Council will not sanction women’s fights scheduled for 3 minutes or more than 10 rounds. It’s as if today a boxer scheduled a 15-round fight, My God, I hope I am not giving an idea to a fighter or promoter to challenge a rule which has saved many lives and definitively made boxers’ life much better after their tears in the ring.

Amanda Serrano, one of the great fighters in all of history, who has won championships in 6 different divisions, sold out Madison Square Garden against Katie Taylor, has managed to earn more than a million dollars by fighting and has an impeccable life outside the ring, will fight 12 three-minute rounds in a card promoted by MVP, the company of superstar Jake Paul. There is still more than a month before that event, I invite Amanda and her team to reconsider and not take a step that goes against the order, the structure, the care of the physical integrity of so many women fighters who admire her and to continue a career that has undoubtedly assured her entry into the boxing hall of fame.


The great Mexican idol, Canelo Álvarez, will fight this September 30 against Jermell Charlo, and both fighters are undisputed super middleweight and super welterweight champions, respectively; It will be the first time that this phenomenon occurs.

Today’s anecdote

The National Holidays of September always bring us mixed meanings. On September 14, 1999, our grandfather Elías passed away. My dad was in Russia in a long trip preparing the annual convention and his return trip to say goodbye to his beloved father was long, sad and lonesome; It was quite a suffering. As he arrived in Mexico City, the connection g flight to his home town in the province was full of family and friends to join him during this sad moment, it was humbling to see how Mexicana Airlines held the flight 55 minutes to allow my dad to make the flight. After spending some minutes alone in the living room where the coffin was, he came out and said the following to the hundreds present… “My beloved old man has left me, he has gone into the path of no return. He who instilled in me unconditional love for our country. He arrived as a migrant, and Mexico adopted him and gave him the opportunitty to become someone in life, He educated us to be good Mexican citizens, and today precisely during the Mexican independence celebrations he left us to always have him present in these days of celebration, of happiness.”

I appreciate his comments at [email protected]

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  • Great column and I appreciate it.

    Very sorry to read about the sudden passing of Diego Arrua. So tragic and devastating. My deepest condolences to his family and friends, those who knew him and loved him.

  • I appreciate the strong and manly fatherly love Mauricio continually speaks of. Not many men talk about strong family traditions. Great for his father to show leadership and give words to soothe the hurt and establish family tradition moving forward. The women have been showing the leadership in recent times.
    Many of you complain because he had the father you never had.

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