by Paul Magno
Speaking at a televised round table discussion on TV Azteca in Mexico, the WBC’s President for Life, Jose Sulaiman, alongside promoter Fernando Beltran, spoke up about Antonio Margarito, Manny Pacquiao, and the state of boxing in general.
In the program entitled Marcaje Personal, Sulaiman expressed outrage at the California State Athletic Commission’s license revocation of Margarito in 2009 and their subsequent denial of reinstatement in August of this year.
“They attacked a Mexican fighter,” Sulaiman declared. “What arrogance! They think us Mexicans have to respect this? Why do they do this to Mexicans?”
When the moderator of the panel chastised the Nevada State Commission for also refusing to grant Margarito a license earlier in the year, citing “cowardice” and “racism,” Sulaiman nodded, sat back in his chair, and shrugged.
“California has never treated Mexicans well,” Sulaiman stated matter-of-factly. “They don’t give us the same opportunities…and Nevada was just respecting the California decision.”
Sulaiman reasoned that Margarito, himself, had done nothing wrong, so he deserved no discipline. He would also defend Margarito’s bout in Mexico as not in violation of the CSAC’s discipline since Margarito was fighting with a valid Mexican fight license.
Regarding the upcoming Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito fight in Dallas Cowboys Stadium, Sulaiman estimated a pay-per-view buy rate of between 1.2 and 1.5 million. He would also classify the bout as “the best fight to be made in boxing today.”
Fernando Beltran offered little more than affirmations for Sulaiman throughout the discussion, supporting the words of the man he would later call his “godfather” in boxing.
The rest of the program concerned classic Mexican fighters and the sagging Mexican amateur scene.
However, Sulaiman’s words on the Margarito affair, delivered in Mexico to an exclusively Mexican audience, gave great insight into his personal prejudices and offered a glimpse into a sanctioning body president with an obvious agenda.
They say that you never know how someone really feels until they think no enemy is listening. Well, we now know where we stand.