By Mauricio Sulaimán
Son of José Sulaimán – WBC President
Fans are back to boxing in the state of Texas, and hopefully that will continue.
The Dallas Cowboys Stadium hosted as the luxurious setting for the magnificent fight between WBC / IBF world welterweight champion Errol Spence and his WBC mandatory challenger, former champion Danny Garcia. All available tickets were sold; that is, 25% of the total capacity, resulting in an entrance of 19 thousand spectators, which becomes a resounding success for the promotion and boxing in general.
The great champion Saúl Canelo Álvarez will be fighting against Callum Smith at the Alamodome in San Antonio, on December 19, and Ryan García will be facing Britain’s Luke Campbell, on January 2, also in Dallas, thus making the state of Texas the current capital of the world boxing.
I was pleasantly surprised and impressed with the medical-administrative protocol that was in place for this event. TGB promotions and the Texas Boxing Commission (CSLD), along with the Cowboys Stadium, perfectly executed the security measures established for the protection of all during this time of COVID-19. The procedure was carried out in the bubble, where basically the areas in which the participants of the boxing function can be are clearly delimited: fighters, coaches, officials, staff, press, etc.
The bubble starts when the person arrives at the hotel. There he is directed to a specific area, the COVID-19 PCR test is performed, and he is taken to his room, so he cannot leave until the next day when the negative result is obtained. In this event in Dallas, the protocol was even stricter, since no one had permission to leave their room from the time they arrived until they were transported to go to the stadium.
Another bubble is generated in the property; participants are assigned to a dressing room and a work area and no one can leave that place. At the end of the performance, everyone is taken back to the hotel, and the only departure allowed is to return home or to the airport. We must acknowledge and praise the boxing promoters who have kept our sport active during this global crisis. Promoters and their staff members deserve special recognition for their dedication and sacrifice to operate these promotions as they as individuals are taking tremendous sacrifice to serve our sport.
I was talking with Thorsten Meier, who is in charge of the bubble for Premier Boxing Champions, and it is evident the wear that he and his team have, because since July they have remained within the bubbles in Connecticut, California and Texas, constantly monitoring all the complex operations, and staying most of the time in hotel rooms.
There have been various forms of the famous bubble: Top Rank at MGM in Las Vegas, Matchroom in England, and also Zanfer Promotions in Mexico City, among others. We are all learning and continually improving processes; What is a strong reality involves boxing being a great example for the world sports community.
I had the opportunity to be present at this great card in Dallas. I did not enter the bubble until the day of the fight as we had to carry out a variety of activities in the boxing community of the region. Our WBC team visited 3 boxing gyms to talk with the girls and boys, young people, both amateurs and professionals, who are using boxing as a way to saving their lives. We had sensational moments of inspiration at these WBC Cares visits, managing to interact with everyone with all the protective measures.
We also visited Casa Guanajuato, a community center for Mexican migrants from that state where Don Tereso has art and sports education programs, the boxing program being the most important. We visited the Consulate of Mexico and it was there where we made the official delivery of the “heroes of humanity” awards, rewarding the medical services of this agency for the care of more than 70 thousand cases during the pandemic.
The fight between Spence and Garcia was dedicated to the heroes for humanity and it was there that the beautiful belt inspired in the artwork of the artist Austin Zucchini-Fowler was awarded to the winner, Errol Spence Jr. Heroes for humanity has been a continuous campaign to recognize and award those who have been nominated by their peers as heroes for providing services to those in need. Nurses, doctors, first responders, police, fire departments, community workers, institutions, and even the next-door neighbor who has gone out of the way to help others in need. Congratulations to all of you who have given aid and support to others.
Did you know … The Dallas Cowboys Stadium has hosted five great boxing cards: Manny Pacquiao against Clottey and against Margarito; Saúl Canelo Álvarez against Liam Smith, as well as those of Errol Spence Jr., who first beat Mikey García, and now Danny García.
Today’s anecdote … Bob Arum traveled to Mexico to promote the fight between Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito, which took place at Cowboys Stadium. In addition to the fighters, there was a luxury visit: Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, was present and even brought two cowgirls to animate the big press conference to announce the fight. Later, TV Azteca and Fernando Beltrán invited Don José for lunch with Arum and Jones; my dad gladly accepted but asked that I be included in the plan, as I have been a fan of the team since I was a child.
Without a doubt, it was one of the most special meetings of my life. Memorable to see Jones and Arum having a great time with my dad. Don José was so happy that he even drank a couple of tequilas. The moment was so incredible, and Arum was so animated, that when my father said goodbye, since he never had a long party, he hugged him as he had not done since the 70s, when they started their great friendship.
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