Pope Francis

PopefrancisBy Mauricio Sulaimán
Son of José Sulaimán & WBC President

The Holy Father, Pope Francis, has given a significant number of messages in response to two events that have impacted the world in an unusual way.

Firstly, concerning the terrible invasion of Russia in Ukraine, which this month marks a year since it began, nowadays the topic gets lost until another bombing happens, and it reminds us that in the midst of 2023, we are experiencing a situation like this.

The other event is the earthquake that has caused so much damage to Turkey and Syria. The images are terrifying and the need for help is urgent and imminent. The Pope’s messages are a guide of wisdom and compassion for those who read them and they help to put ideas and feelings in order as well as perspective.

Pope Francis has the ability to say much in just a few words, and to make succinct sense where reason does not exist. He is, without a doubt, the spiritual leader that the world needs today and always.

I will never stop being grateful to my brother, Héctor, for having considered and included me in that magical journey when we attended an audience with the Pope in one of the first sessions of the Pontifex Scholas Ocurrentes Foundation.

At the beginning of 2016, Román Rodríguez, from Spain, sought out Héctor and proposed that he lead the opening of Scholas México. It was in February of that year that the meeting with José María del Corral and Enrique Palmeyro took place to shape the program for Mexico, which was ratified before His Holiness in the audience on February 3.

In the process, the proposal to create, in addition, the BoxVal program (Boxing with Values) was shaped to add to the purpose of educating the largest number of people in the world through sport, art and technology.

I remember that in said audience there was a group of firefighters who presented an activity report, and upon taking the floor, Pope Francis said: “I pray every day that humanity has work and I also pray every day that firefighters never have work.” What an incredibly meaning…!

Suddenly, without anyone knowing it, they handed me the microphone to explain BoxVal’s proposal, and there I was standing speaking in front of Pope Francis, the way he looked at me made me so comfortable, reassured me from the first moment, and allowed me to fluently explain the intentions and purposes to join the boxing to his non-religious foundation.

The first proposal was to carry out an inaugural fight for Peace; precisely one between a Catholic against a Muslim, Canelo Álvarez vs. Amir Khan.

Boxing is the noblest sport that exists, and the one with the greatest chance of transmitting values.

This first experiment was a complete success. The Olive Tree of Peace was presented at a press conferences held in England, New York and Los Angeles, and it was planted during the weigh-in ceremony outside the recently opened T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, where the fight took place.

“Fight for peace belts are handmade by Adrian Pallarols, a craftsman from Argentina, who is very close to Pope Francis”

At the end of the audience, we had the opportunity to go to a private meeting with him. It was there that the Holy Father gave me his appreciation of what boxing is, and how it occurs every day in life. “There is no small rival, no one is superior, and there is always the possibility of winning in any activity of life.”

If we look at what happens with the most fearsome snake, the cobra, and the mongoose, the logic would be that cobra would easily annihilate the so-called Ninja Rat, but no, they use their abilities and analyze the snake’s weakness and establish a strategy, and they carry it out to defeat their opponent. So, he gave me his analogy of what boxing is in life.

BoxVal is celebrating eight years of great activity worldwide. Boxing is a sport that complies with a great diversity of acts of social responsibility in a natural way.

It combats health conditions by promoting physical activity, keeps children and young people away from the streets and from the many temptations, and other problems; it serves as a means of uniting entire families and neighborhoods. Also, the boxer has the moral authority to convey powerful messages when they give an awareness talk.

BoxVal has organized a variety of fights for peace in various countries. It does a variety of activities every month around the world with the participation of thousands of people. Visits from two great WBC champions at Scholas hearings turned out to be great. Julio César Chávez, in the company of Julio Jr., had the opportunity to receive the blessing in March 2018, while the then-WBC heavyweight champion, Deontay Wilder, had his moment in December 2019. The smile with which His Holiness greeted Deontay was magical and wonderful.

Did you know…?

Some of BoxVal’s Ambassadors are boxers who have participated in events and others who continue to do so. They are: Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez, Amir Khan, Oscar de la Hoya, Bernard Hopkins, Julio César Chávez, Tyson Fury, Gennady “GGG” Golovkin, Roman “Chocolatito” González and many others.

Today’s anecdote

Sergio “Maravilla” Martínez was WBC world champion when Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was elected Pope. That same year Martinez received confirmation for a private audience with the Pope and he listed two guests to accompany him: Miguel de Pablos and José Sulaimán. Unfortunately, my dad had his surgery, which took place on October 1st.

My dad was in a coma starting on October 2, and he was like that until the 20th of that month. The audience was held on the 18th, and in it one of the most beautiful acts in the history of our family took place. Maravilla Martínez asked the Pope to pray for Don José, explaining my dad’s health situation at that time. Pope Francis took the world champion belt certificate that bears my father’s signature and prayed over it, folding it on different occasions, at the end he said to the champion: “Send this to his family immediately.” The certificate arrived along with a rosary on the 20th. My mom placed it under my father’s back on the mattress. Miraculously, hours later my dad opened his eyes and managed to live almost three more months to say goodbye to everyone. We will never forget that act of compassion by Sergio Martínez and Miguel De Pablos and the power of Pope Francis’ prayer was manifested with that miracle.

I welcome your feedback at [email protected].

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  • The signs are all out there. Seek The One and Only True God Almighty, Creator Of The Universe while you still have time. God help us all…

  • – I was raised Catholic and visited the Vatican years back.
    – Still don’t know what this post has to do w/boxing, and why FightNews allows this character free air time.

    • A communist who tries to be contemporary and not adhere to Church doctrine. Maybe Fightnews should stick to boxing!

      • Yes, this forum is indeed about the sport of boxing, not religion. But, with that being said, is it such an egregious offense against it’s boundaries to discuss other topics as well? after all, some here might object to numerous aspersions that have been leveled at Mr. Sulaiman’s moral character by a variety of commenters. TO define a man as a “HYPOCRITE’ Is a very serious saccusation, Or what about a “Communist?” those type of comments certainly aren’t treating with the subject
        of boxing either. If should deem a poster’s comments as being too out of my boundaries and offensive, then I DON/T have to keep reading them. but, then again, if my own comments are deemed offensive by the majority of others on the forum, then I had best rethink it over carefully whether it;s advisable that I should CONTINE to post my views here. But, if by publicly expressing my thoughts, I should happen to offend one individual—-it’s of little concern to me. Then they too can always read elsewhere.

        • Randy Hershey, as you may have noticed, I prefaced my comments on Sulaiman by saying “I believe him to be a corrupt hypocrite”. It’s up to each one of us to decide if that is true. An example of his hypocrisy is the gap between his statements and his actions regarding the Ukraine/Russia war. WBC which is Sulaiman, along with the other boxing ‘commissions’ had agreed to not sanction Russian boxers. Within 10 days of that they sanctioned the Bivol vs Alvarez fight with an obviously lame economic justification. That iis clearly hypocritical. Ironically. Canelo, clearly the WBC house fighter, lost to Bivol. If the WBC/Sulaiman figured that would happen the likelihood is they never would have sanctioned the fight. The 4 ‘boxing commissions wield an enormous amount of power….they wield it arbitrarily. Most egregious of the commissioners (I think) is Sulaiman, due to his public persona and his 12th Round drivel, which in fact opens himself up to criticism and ridicule.

  • Sulaiman, I believe , is a corrupt hypocrite and a sanctimonious jerk.
    He speaks solemnly about the Ukraine/Russia situation, but let’s not forget that his Commission aloud the Canelo, Bivol fight because “Russian fighters have to earn a living too.” The fact that you’re giving this corrupt man a weekly soap box for his trite inanities suggests that you, like he, follows the money.

    • yeah, Lebrawn should be banned because Biden blew up the Nordstream 2..

      cannot haz it both wayz..

  • WBC = We Be Conmen

    Didnt bother to read the article, but seeing the pic I’m guessing that the WBC is creating a new title to add to their bogus champions. What the fk?

    You are blessed my son, now fork over commission fees, new double interim title pope belt fees and let three priests fondle you while they bless you in the dressing room before the fight.

  • Does the WBC help finance & support amateur programs & boxing gyms for our youth, or do they just collect sanction fees & hand out belts?

    • If they do finance youth boxing programs (perhaps in Mexico they do) it appears to be tokenism at best. When have they invested in gyms, for example. I don’t see them financing Golden Gloves tournaments anywhere in the US.

  • “Firstly, concerning the terrible invasion of Russia in Ukraine”
    – Should state “….the terrible invasion of Ukraine by Russia”.
    – Sillyman needs a better editor.

    • Or better yet, the terrible invasion of Ukraine by Russia because the US/CIa Coup in 2014 overthrew the democratically elected Pres of Ukraine and put in a US/EY friendly puppet that the Eastern part of Ukraine would not accept, and was shelled to the tune of 14,000 dead by Kyiv. Lets tell the whole story if we are going to heart bleed for a country that killed its own people, banned all opposition parties and media and banned the Eastern Orthodox Church. Now. That is better.

  • What message are you trying to get across Mauricio? How about working on your own legacy? Personally, and I’m sure many of us feel the same, do not view another imperfect human being as holy. The only one worthy of that title is GOD and on earth the closest are our mothers.

    To the fightnews editors, what’s up with this? Don’t you see the negative reactions on every single post? We can get others to post their thoughts here that are actually beneficial to us, fans and practitioners of the sport. How about random guests from fighters, to coaches/trainers and people along those lines?

  • i also didn’t read the article but saw that “Jr” was pope’in, pardon me I mean pimpin out the WBC on the Pope. It’s as bad as people who try to do business by showing photo ops of big time politicians..
    Why can’t Jr. just stay at home and collect the checks? No need for him to peretuate his garbage. Boxing is boxing, religion is religion, the state is the state, no need for him to continue to merge all of these entities, they require seperation. At least allow boxing to be mostly sep from the other 2, unless you want 1 governing body.
    Jr doesn’t want that unless it’s WBC run

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