Photos: Pepe Rodriguez/WBC
Thursday was a special day for the World Boxing Council. Phone company TELMEX through the efforts of Carlos Slim has started a monthly pension for life and medical insurance to be given to 20 Mexican former world champions and two widows. Making the announcement and standing up just two months after having undergone a complicated surgery in his left knee, WBC President Jose Sulaiman addressed the small crowd.
WBC President Jose Sulaiman’s speech:
“Today, a historic page in national and world sport will be written, due to the fact that never before in the more than 300 years of current boxing had there been an institution or person who even thought about offering retired boxers who are in their senior years and are going through hard times, the opportunity of a good life.
Great Jose Becerra retired over 50 years ago; the most recent was Victor Rabanales, 15 years ago.
TELMEX Foundation and that outstanding Mexican, Engineer Don Carlos Slim, through our friend Arturo Elias Ayub, will donate, as of today, a pension for life to 22 of our greatest idols of Mexican boxing of all time.
Boxing was the first sport that was practiced on earth, since the times of the cavemen when people would fight for the leadership of the tribes, for food and for women.
From there, it appeared again in Ethiopia, in an engraving from 8,000 years B. C., the first proof of boxing; from there it went on to Egypt, Mesopotamia, Crete, and was one of the first 4 sports in the first Olympic Games around 500 years B. C…… To later appear in the Roman circus, where boxers would fight for their lives.
After an age of mystery during the Middle Ages, boxing reappeared in the exclusive clubs of Great Britain. In Mexico it was the sport that gave our country its very first Olympic medal and keeps being the sport that has obtained the most Olympic medals for our country; professional boxing in Mexico is today, the most important one in the world, only second to the United States.
The boxer is that person who is born in a very humble cradle, and does not find a place in the Mexican society, until that special gift sprouts in him or her, a
God-given gift of having a brave heart, fists of steel, and that ability to face a rival.
The boxer rises to fame and idolatry, becomes a king and starts earning a lot of money, even though there are rare exceptions, they are reached by the abuse they are the object of, the abuse of different people of the boxing industry itself; they also have to face high taxes due to such a short career, bad business deals and wanton behavior in their lives into which they are pushed by those bad friends who just like bees go to the honeycomb when it has honey.
Then comes the way down, when the ring spotlights are turned off and everything is over; their friends are gone and they live from that little bit they still have, if they still have something; many fall into the sadness of loneliness and oblivion and just keep dreaming of their times of greatness, with nostalgia.
There cannot be in the whole world, someone who does not see the boxer with grief and sadness, as the boxer had everything and now has nothing.
It is here, in the year 2010….. 10,000 years after the appearance of the first trace of boxing, when a great Mexican man appears, someone who has always been a boxing fan, someone who has a deep humanitarian sense, who knew about this dramatic situation of real life and felt it in his heart, Engineer Don Carlos Slim…..
Who expressed his wishes and took the necessary steps through TELMEX Foundation and Arturo Elias Ayub, in order to hold out his friendly hand to our great heroes, Mexican idols, who took the name of Mexico around the world with honor and pride.
I thank my friend Arturo Elias Ayub and my son Mauricio for the dynamism and commitment that both displayed and put into practice when developing this great program in aid of our great idols.
Today is one of the happiest days of my life and I kindly ask all the people in attendance, very respectfully, to rise and give an ovation of recognition and gratitude to that man who has shown with facts that he is a great Mexican: Engineer Don Carlos Slim…..
Many thanks to all.