By Mauricio Sulaimán
Son of José Sulaimán & WBC President
“The Dallas Cowboys lost” is what most say today, but had the Cowboys won, they would say, “We won.”
Such is life, as fans suffer defeats and enjoy victories. It will be a long drought of emotions until next season, when we will put on our team jerseys again and start the dream all over again. It’s already been 28 years without a Super Bowl, without a championship. Something like this happened with my favorite Mexican soccer team Cruz Azul, and don’t even mention it with my Cincinnati Reds in baseball. Even so, I have never changed allegiance ever since I was a child. My loyalty is unwavering.
Loyalty: Feeling of respect and fidelity to one’s own moral principles, to established commitments or to someone. It is a principle that, basically, consists of never turning your back on a certain person or group that is united by ties of friendship or by some social relationship. That is the fulfillment of honor and gratitude in a relationship which stands the test of time. In a group. It is a fulfillment of what the strength of fidelity and honor require.
Loyalty was always the principle that my dad so valued in life. How easy it is to be loyal, when things are going well, when success is around! And in turn, how easy it is to see how that loyalty disappears and dissolves when everything is not going well, as it once was!
In our sport it is very common to get confused and experience the disappearance of those who one thought were close friends, people or companies, but this concept must be a two-way street, otherwise it was never real. How nice it feels to live demonstrations of loyalty and how powerful it is to be loyal! It is not easy, it has to be based on principles and a strong conviction, respect and very deep values are required.
Money and vested interests are what commonly lead people to change course. That is where maturity and empathy are required to understand if it was an act of disloyalty, or a necessary change. If it was a betrayal or it was something inevitable developing, so as to grow and excel. My dad used to tell me: “My son, there is always one version, the other and the truth. It is not easy to judge and everything related to that change or break, must be calmly and sensibly analyzed.”
In the WBC, we have experienced countless times when a boxer makes the decision to go elsewhere, to another organization, but it is always important to pause and understand why it happened. If a fighter who has been closely associated to your organization for a long time suddenly finds an opportunity to grow, go ahead, let it be for his own good. The only thing one expects is a courtesy call and not to find out from the media.
If a promoter takes the fighter elsewhere, it is necessary to analyze and conclude what happened in that specific situation. There is a very fine line, between a decision for the good of his future or an ephemeral opportunity, simply due to ego or money-driven bad decisions.
In the history of our WBC, as we celebrate 60 years of changing the course of world boxing, and during these decades, we have had countless actions of loyalty that make this a great global family.
Julio César Chávez was one of the most loyal in history. He was crowned in the WBC super featherweight division. He defended that championship 10 times, and it was then that a great opportunity arose for him, to fight against the then considered number-one pound-for-pound in the world, Puerto Rican Edwin “Chapo” Rosario. The great Mexican champion visited Don José and asked his permission to take that fight, which would be the main event at the Hilton in Las Vegas, but for the WBA lightweight championship. Without hesitation, my dad supported him and he was there at ringside to see Julio triumph with a spectacular TKO in 11 rounds. Immediately after, he then went on to win the WBC lightweight championship, he moved up to super lightweight to fight the rest of his career within The WBC.
Humberto “Chiquita” González and Érik “Terrible” Morales, both patiently waited with great loyalty for up to two years as mandatory WBC challengers, until their title fights took place. They built legendary careers always proudly fighting for the Green and Gold Belt. Sugar Ray Leonard was crowned WBC welterweight champion and at the time, the interests of the promoters wanted to take him to the WBA and get the big fight against Roberto “Manos de Piedra” Durán out of the way. It was not quite like that, yet both met, in Montreal to give us one of the most important fights in history. That led to a rematch, and spawned two legendary careers, both Hall of Fame.
Mike Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in history at the age of 20. Tyson always fought for the WBC, and when he got out of that unjust imprisonment, he fought for the Green and Gold against Frank Bruno. I could go on with so many demonstrations of loyalty and a book could be written, but each and every one of those fighters, managers and promoters who have been loyal to their principles and values, found in the WBC a serious and loyal family full of love and affection forever.
Floyd Mayweather had the perfect career as a boxer always proudly representing the WBC. Floyd conquered WBC world championships in five different weight categories, and in some divisions he did it multiple times. His trophy case on belts is all Green and Gold.
Tyson Fury is so proud of his WBC championship, he is always making sure the world knows he is WBC Green and Gold, always wearing the WBC logo in his attire, regardless if it is a cap or a gala suit.
It is also with the judges and referees, commissioners and members of the boxing community in each of the 170 countries that are our World Boxing Council. The WBC is a great big Family!
7DID YOU KNOW…?
Lennox Lewis emerged as a powerful prospect in the heavyweight division in the early 1990s. The champion was Evander Holyfield, signed by HBO. This network put Lennox down and ignored him, trying to push him aside. They supported Holyfield’s fight against Riddick Bowe, in which the latter was proclaimed champion and instead of making the fight with Lewis, he was forced by Rock Newman, his then-manager, to throw the WBC belt into a trash can. The WBC stuck with Lennox, who eventually became the most outstanding champion for over a decade.
In one of those situations of great conflict, power, ego and greed called to commit an act of disloyalty and betrayal, a case in which I omit to mention names so as not to create negative feelings. I questioned my father, telling him that my opinion was that he should proceed as required to keep the champion within the WBC, and his answer marked me as a principle of life with deep moral example. “My son, a Sulaiman never backs down. Today we see how something terribly unfair happens and we cannot be part of it. Today we lose a great champion, but whoever comes tomorrow and is crowned as our monarch will become the best in the world. Never let anyone manipulate you for vested interests, always fight against discrimination and abuse of power. That way you will always sleep peacefully and be proud of having done the right thing.”
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