Boxing Legends Must Not Be Compromised

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

The World Boxing Council invariably supports any situation that is beneficial to boxers; including new promotional companies, broadcast platforms, extraordinary tournaments, sponsoring companies, etc.

Part of our work as a regulatory body for this sport is also to promote and offer our platform to support such initiatives.

The WBC worked hard to achieve the very successful Super 6 tournament in the super middleweight division by Showtime, so did with the World Boxing Super Series. It also works along with Fundación Telmex Telcel to carry out the highly successful Ring Telmex program, which has generated 19 champions, or the SuperFly tournament which is still generating interesting matches involving those fighters.

We are currently experiencing a boxing trend with a wide variety of elements. Influencer and Youtubers events, participation of athletes from other sports inside the ring, mixed martial arts fighters trying boxing, and retired boxers returning to the ring.

This phenomenon is not new. It has happened in the past, but sporadically as unique and independent events; We saw Muhammad Ali “fight” against the Japanese wrestler Inoki, who never got off the mat and kicked him all the fight; we also saw José Canseco, who stepped into the ring to receive a beating. Too Tall Jones of the Dallas Cowboys, had six professional fights winning all, and Mickey Rourke used to fight in Japan thrilling his fans, bolstered by his fame as a Hollywood gigolo.

The current trend is not something sporadic. It has already emerged on various fronts and it seems to be something continuous, obviously all based on the money that has been generated. It all started during the pandemic. The world paused and stopped, there were no sporting events for several months and the confinement led us to a mental change, so, full of nostalgia, we started doing things at home that we missed and gave us passion and pleasure in life.

Mike Tyson returned to boxing training. In so doing, he overcame his terrible depression and shed weight, by training for a couple of months, and by uploading a video of just six seconds on his social networks. So, the world began to dream and imagine what it would be like to see “Iron Mike” back in the ring.

Miguel, as I affectionately call him, began to organize an event with specific characteristics; It would be an exhibition with headgear, 16-ounce gloves and three rounds match inspired by the events he saw staged by Julio César Chávez and Jorge Arce; exhibitions to entertain the public, to bring happiness to society and, very importantly, for charitable purposes.

Finally, Tyson fell into the temptation of money and gave this event to a company called Triller, who took over and organized it in its entirety. They went out to look for the rival, which was finally Roy Jones Jr. They added the very popular influencer Jake Paul, who had actually been boxing for three years and faced a basketball legend, plus some official fights between pro boxers. It was held at the Staples Center, without an audience, and was complemented by musical acts, highlighting Snoop Dog, who smoked a huge marijuana cigarette … and that’s how the whole stage smelled like.

Tyson offered a wonderful performance. They both understood that it was about entertaining and at no point tried to hurt each other. The event was an absolute success, it sold to 1.6 million homes on pay-per-view, and that was where the eyes of many were opened.

Today there are the Paul brothers, as well as influencers from various countries trying to make their events. Likewise, promoters and broadcast platforms are looking for ways to enter this new dynamic, but the most important thing to note is that retired boxers are looking to get back in the ring.

What happened last Saturday was reality realization; thank goodness there was no serious injury. Tito Ortiz was struck down in less than a minute, with a spectacular knockout that could have ended in a fatal injury, and the great legendary champion Evander Holyfield was embarrassed, in just 90 seconds, by a retired mixed martial arts rival.

I’m not interested in analyzing Holyfield’s performance and what happened. It is a blessing that everyone has seen the reality. You can’t play boxing. Former boxers must not return to the ring to fight. The exhibitions are acceptable, as they are with important security measures, but fighting without headgear and competitively cannot happen.

Many legends had left the ring with painful farewell fights, when time took away the physical virtues. Joe Louis was knocked out by Marciano, Ali by Holmes, Leonard by Camacho, El Púas by the unknown Nacho Madrid, Chávez by Grover Wiley. All of them closed their chapter in the life of a boxer and moved on.

Today is different. Holyfield had not fought in a decade and at 58 he committed a terrible mistake, risking his life and the honor of the sport that gave him everything. Oscar de la Hoya was going to fight, after 12 years out of the ring, but a signal came from heaven when he contracted COVID-19 and had to cancel it. Riddick Bowe says he wants to fight, and so the sharks in the business are pitching offers to legendary but spent fighters to use them, give them peanuts and themselves collecting millions.

This needs order in some way. The power of money and the few scruples of a few cannot be more important than integrity and security. Holyfield can now be once again the great leader, but he must also seek the help of his teammates, colleagues, friends and family, not to go through this situation ever again!

DID YOU KNOW…?

I was on a very popular show on TV in the United States, Celebrity Family Feud.

It was WBC vs. UFC. On my team were Holyfield, Bowe, Shawn Porter and Ryan Garcia. We had a great time and we won 527 to 28 points. The funny thing was that Bowe had to be put on a stool because he couldn’t stand for a long time as he now walks with great difficulty … that’s the boxing legend they’re trying to get into the ring again.

Today’s anecdote

My dad was at home when he was informed that the Mexican idol, Rubén “Púas” Olivares, would star in a farewell card at the Arena México. He called him and begged him not to… “Forgive me Don Pepe, I need the money and they will pay me very well; I’m fighting a rookie, don’t worry, I’m El Púas.”

The public packed the venue to say farewell to the great idol, who entered the ring against Ignacio Madrid. Ruben Olivares fell to the canvas seven times in two rounds, until the referee mercifully stopped the fight.

The fans cried and yelled, the young Madrid was never forgiven and he never excelled in boxing.

I appreciate your comments at [email protected]

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  • The WBC is a completely corrupt organization that has helped ruin boxing. Corrupt judges and referees and promoters. However he is right about this. Of course its self serving. but hats boxing. “The red light district of sports”. Thanks for the quote Jimmy Cannon

  • I don’t even bother to read a word when i see Murray Solomon’s name on the byline. I know the politically correct bullshit that’s going to be in it without even reading it.

  • I find it ironic that the WBC/Sulaiman writes an article about boxers well being when they are the epitome of corrupt. I believe he put this out as they are not getting a piece of the pie and not being thoughtful of any fighters well being.

  • — The Bridgette weight division just the tip of the WBC iceberg.

    Coming to your big screen soon, The Legend weight divisions…only in boxing, folks…

  • “…..by Mauricio Sulaimán
    Son of José Sulaimán / President of the WBC”
    – The well-informed members of this boxing site have a few questions / comments for you, sir ……

  • Although I have mixed thoughts about the WBC, and the BS they have done over the years, they have never done anything like this company Triller has done to hurt boxing. Putting a 58 year old man in the rings is despicable. Sulaiman actually made a very good case here.

  • I wonder if he thought Julio Caesar Chavez was going to beat Oscar De la Hoya In the rematch since I’m looking at the title of this article!

  • This guy honestly feels he has no fault in the collapse of the sport.He and the other sanctioning bodies are 100% why these circus side shows keep coming to town.
    The greed of Organizations and the promoters again, is to blame for these sideshows fights, and the state boxing is in.

    • Yup. Ditto on this. If the WBC opted to promote the sport and competition, I’d be all in on his argument. But the WBC is just another bogus sanctioning body trying to act like they’re the only game in town. The sanctioning bodies and the 157 different belts are the reason boxing has slipped from mainstream consciousness. When the sanctioning bodies and promoters finally get together and create real, singular belts and a coherent contendership, this discussion can be had. Until then, it’s the pot meeting the kettle.

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