The WBC Convention: A Spirit of Unity PrevailsWritten by Richard V. Powell
Although most fight fans believe the World Boxing Council (WBC) is an organization that deals strictly in ranking boxers and awarding championship belts, that's just a fraction of what they do.
They are also responsible for creating and implementing rules for WBC- sanctioned bouts and making decisions that heavily impact the sport of boxing. The WBC works day after day, transforming the way boxing is seen by promoting safety, health, respect, gamesmanship and fairplay.
In addition to regulating championships, supervising rankings and implementing rules to improve the sport, the WBC is committed to its philanthropic initiatives as well. In 2006, the WBC established World Boxing Cares - a non profit, charitable organization that works to improve the lives of children by sending world class athletes to youth centers, hospitals and orphanages, and helping to raise donations for institutions and events with similar objectives. World Boxing Cares is active in the 163 countries.
2011 WBC Convention in Las Vegas
At the 49th Annual WBC Convention, which took place December 11-17, initiatives were discussed and several landmark rulings were made. While most in the media will report about the agenda items and verdicts, the comradery and compassion that seemed to pervade the event could not be ignored.
Boxing is a violent sport that pits warrior against warrior. As a result, the noblest of all sports can be cold, insensitive and unforgiving. Unfortunately, the blood-thirsty nature of the game sometimes extends far beyond the ring, permeating the attitudes of trainers, management, promoters and media.
It takes strong leadership, benevolence and character to not only strive for excellence in the business of boxing, but create a warm, unifying atmosphere where so many people of various races, religions and backgrounds can be brought together under a common goal - the improvement of boxing. The WBC exhibited those traits last week.
How They do it
As with most accomplished organizations, the answer to its success starts at the top. The WBC's Jose Sulaiman has served as its president for more than 36 years. He's the charismatic nucleus of boxing's most respected sanctioning body and is a man of accountability, action and vision. During last week's convention in Las Vegas, President Sulaiman once again demonstrated judiciousness by presiding over the enactment of several highly-publicized verdicts, including the enforcement of mandatory matches for two high-profile WBC champions.
The spirit of goodwill created by Jose Sulaiman and his son, Mauricio, permeated the conference and lead to many joyous experiences for those who attended. Rival fighters who hadn't spoken to each other in decades dropped their grudges and laughed together like old friends. After a few tense moments, old foes Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Sugar Ray Leonard came together to engage in warmhearted conversation. Mike Tyson andEvander Holyfield followed suit as did Floyd Mayweather Sr. who put aside bitter feelings to make amends with Sugar Ray Leonard and share a few lighthearted moments with his brother, Roger.
Resentment and old hostilities seemed to be forgotten as attendees couldn't help but be swept away by the contagious spirit of unity and celebration at the WBC conference.
Although it may seem the sport of boxing, itself, is riddled with contention and 'on the ropes,' the rumors of its demise are greatly exaggerated. With the help and committment of the WBC, boxing is progressing and improving in the face of enormous doubt and negativity.
After a year marked by controversial decisions and questionable officiating, some of the sport's long-time flaws were finally exposed and the WBC wasted no time in addressing them. And while the WBC cannot cure all of boxing's ills, they believe their leadership and vision can play a pivotal role in breathing new life into the sport they so dearly love.
Some say boxing's best days are have past... The WBC believes boxing's best days are yet to come.