WBA Convention Update from Medellin, Colombia
WBA president Gilberto Jesus Mendoza opened the 96th annual convention in Medellin, Colombia by outlining a new approach both the traditional convention agenda and to the sport of boxing in general. “We should not try to see what boxing can do for us, but rather, what we can do for boxing,” said Mendoza. A morning of regional reports took place, as well as a star-studded cast of champions past and present relaying their pasts before boxing and their lives now after boxing and how the sport improved their respective lives.
Not all tradition was flouted. The standard roll call of all in attendance was taken, with all introducing themselves.
The assembled champs took turns speaking: Jackie Nava, Alys Sanchez, Victor Callejas, Antonio Esparragoza, Fidel Bassa, Beibis Mendoza, Rosendo Alvarez, Ricardo Lopez, Antonio Cervantes, David Griman, Roberto Duran were all on hand in this particular assembly. The highlight was the legendary “Kid Pambele” Antonio Cervantes. Colombia’s first ever champion just celebrated the 45th anniversary of his winning the crown this past Saturday, October 28th. Seldom seen at past boxing events, conventions and even his own induction into the international boxing hall of fame, Cervantes has overcome many personal demons to emerge to an adoring boxing public once again. Former WBA featherweight champion Antonio Esparragoza has become an attorney in his native Venezuela. Former WBA flyweight champion Fidel Bassa employs some 35 people in his business. Ricardo Lopez does boxing commentary in his native Mexico. It was heart-warming to see bitter rivals Lopez and Rosendo Alvarez hugging and acting as long lost brothers. The same could be said for Alvarez and four-time foe Colombian Beibis Mendoza.
President Gilberto Jesus Mendoza took the time to introduce the topics of the day:
A report on the recent meeting with organizers of the Association of International Sports Journalists held in Cali, Colombia was also on the agenda.
Various regional reports which weren’t heard in the closed session on Sunday due to late arrivals were delivered.