Fundación TELMEX bestows life pension to retired boxers. August 26, 2010, México City.

Fundación Telmex will bestow life pension to 22 Mexican retired box champions, including the widows of legends Raúl “Ratón” Macías and José Medel. Life pension will be received by all of the Mexican box champions having between 15 and 50 years in retirement. Pension includes medical care.

“Fundación Telmex and Mr. Carlos Slim, through our friend Arturo Elías, will bestow life pension today to 22 great Mexican box idols who have honored the name of México in the whole world”, said José Sulaimán, president of the World Box Council.

Gancho al hígado, José Sulaimán’s column in México city’s daily newspaper El Universal, August 29, 2010:

A friendly hand to age-old glories

Age-old once popular idols now living in poverty will receive life pension by Mr. Carlos Slim’s courtesy

Some years ago, when I was a very young man living in León, Guanajuato, where I owned two shoe fabrics, did travel to México City to watch the match between the then great idol Ratón Macías and USA champion Nate Brooks in Plaza México… It was raining and the plaza was fully, including the corridors; María Félix, Beto Ávila, Agustín Lara, Pedro Infante, politicians, sportsmen, industrialists, and common people, of course, were there. Raining did stop and Ratón went up the ring with plastic bags protecting his shoes from mud and a fight cock that he threw to the public. During the first rounds Ratón did not even touch Nate in the middle of an almost sepulchral silence. Then he began to knock his rival with hook-like blows to the liver and a variety of combined beats, so turning the plaza into a madhouse whose roar still resounds; after Raton’s maddening triumph ¡the rain came back as if it were a respectful and joyful act from heaven! The courage environment of this fight did match those of Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier in Madison Square Garden, New York; Roberto Durán-Sugar Ray Leonard in Montreal; Monzón-Mantenquilla Nápoles in Paris, among others.

The Ratón Macías-Nate Brooks great match came to my mind in seeing around me twenty of all-the-time greatest champions, in a drawing room where the great Mexican Mr. Carlos Slim has endowed them both life pension and social security to dignify them in their hardest life-period since retirement.

Boxers come from the humblest cradle, having no access to society because of their own poverty; they do meet the boxing friendly hand and open door because of their God-given gifts: iron fists, warrior-like physical and mental condition, brave heart and a firm resolution for triumph. When they conquer glory, their names are written in daily-newspaper eight columns, they appear in TV screen, become national and international idols and have as many as friends like bees around honeycomb.

Time passes as wind while they spend their money by thinking that the next match will recuperate them. Suddenly, the arena lights turn off, so their stars in heaven, and  damage counting begins: abuse by some of their partners, high taxes in spite of their brief careers, ten years in some cases, as if theirs were life career like others’ having luxury cars and a high life standard.

And those friends who flatter them when they are famous, sacking them fame and money until the champions find themselves having nothing. Then come oblivion, pitiful life and tearful dreams about those grand nights maddening the whole country, just past glory days. I guess there is no a single man on earth feeling no pain in seeing a man that once was a king and now owe nothing or little to pay for his own life.

For that reason, when Mr. Carlos Slim ─who is highly respected because of his fortune─ makes a deed like pensioning great sporting heroes living in poverty, we not only see the brilliant and smart investor. We are seeing the humanitarian and easy man with a noble heart sharing with those suffering the rise and fall real-life drama, a feature of the Mexican boxing. During 300 years of world boxing history, nobody had taken so important step like pensioning and giving medical care to 22 great champions now living sad times that could injure their own images as idols of the Mexican people.

Something that has touched the hearts of the benefited boxers is the fact that the families of two of the greatest Mexican fighters, Raúl Ratón Macías and José Medel, will be pensioned also. This could be a heavenly signal, perhaps. For sure, they both are sharing up there with their comrades the most humanitarian act in Mexican boxing history. I hope that this act be emulated by other good Mexicans to help many other sportsmen living in sadness and solitude.


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